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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:32 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:35 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:21 pm 
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Rupert Murdoch's ambition to expand his media empire still further could be killed off by MPs this week after Labour announced plans for a Commons vote to thwart his bid for BSkyB.

The move comes amid a mood of continuing public uproar over the phone-hacking scandal, which is now threatening to destabilise David Cameron's government.

The vote will present the coalition with a major test of unity as the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, seeks cross-party support for a motion in parliament which would halt progress on the takeover until the criminal investigation into the News of the World is completed.

With many Liberal Democrats and Tory MPs deeply uneasy about Murdoch gaining an even bigger slice of the UK media market – and still incensed by the behaviour of News Corp executives – Labour is optimistic it can mobilise enough support to achieve a majority.

Miliband will appear on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday to announce his plan and to begin his push for support across all the major parties. He will lay the motion tomorrow and the debate and vote will be on Wednesday.

If he is successful, the Labour move will drive a wedge between the coalition parties and leave Murdoch's takeover ambition in tatters – because the police inquiry could take several years.

The parliamentary debate will also give David Cameron another major headache, following the arrest on Friday of his former director of communications, Andy Coulson, who is a former editor of the News of the World.

Cameron has so far refused to intervene to block the takeover. On Friday, Cameron told a press conference: "People are also asking about the prospective BSkyB bid. As I have repeatedly said, governments must follow the proper legal processes and procedures.

"That is exactly what Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, is doing. His role is to take the advice of independent regulators and, as his department have made clear this morning – given the events of recent days – this will take some time."

On SaturdayCameron was facing growing demands to take a tougher line and tell the News Corporation chairman that the bid must be withdrawn as it would only stoke the mood of public disgust at the phone-hacking scandal.

Paddy Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader, told the Observer: "The public will be outraged and bewildered and trust in our politics will take yet another knock if this takeover goes ahead after what has happened.

"I think Jeremy Hunt or better still David Cameron should call in Rupert Murdoch and say that this bid is no longer welcome."

Hunt has said only that he is delaying until September his verdict on whether to allow News Corporation to proceed in its bid to take full control of BSkyB, on the basis that there had been a deluge of last-minute submissions on the deal last week.

However, the government insists that it would be unlawful to kill the deal on the basis of the latest furore, and that it must make the judgment on whether the deal would maintain media plurality.

The fallout from the scandal is now threatening to destabilise the coalition with many Liberal Democrats determined not to be associated with a government that appears unwilling to take on Murdoch.

Labour sources said that initial soundings suggested there would be strong support for the motion among Liberal Democrat and Tory MPs, as well as peers of both parties.

A Liberal Democrat source said: "The party is not happy about this deal and they would welcome the chance to act." News Corporation is in the process of trying to buy the 61% of the satellite broadcaster that it does not already own. Before the phone-hacking scandal erupted again last week, the deal had looked on course to be approved by Hunt within weeks.

But in recent days there have been calls for the media regulator Ofcom to investigate whether News Corporation is a "fit and proper" owner for BSkyB. BSkyB shares closed down 12% last week in London, but News Corp shares in New York had barely changed.

On Saturday Downing Street said the public inquiry into criminality at the News of the World and other newspapers would start as soon as was practical, while ensuring it did not prejudice the police investigations. It will be led by a judge and have the power to call witnesses who would give their evidence under oath and in public.

The second public inquiry will seek a new framework for the regulation of the press and will be led by a panel of figures from different backgrounds.

Sir Menzies Campbell, another former Liberal Democrat leader, said it would technically be possible for Cameron or Hunt to refuse the takeover "out of hand", thereby putting the onus on Murdoch to go for a judicial review – a move he believed would further enrage the public.

However, he said there were other legal avenues that could be explored because the decision to proceed this far had been based on undertakings given by people who might no longer be judged as reliable.

Lord Oakeshott, a Liberal Democrat peer who is close to business secretary Vince Cable, has released the text of a letter to Ofcom's director, Ed Richards. In it he asked if "Ofcom is satisfied that the board of BSkyB are all now fit and proper to hold a broadcasting licence, in the light of this week's admissions of management failings by its chairman and representative of its controlling shareholder, James Murdoch, and a mountain of evidence pointing to negligence at best and criminality at worst by the senior management of News International?"

Baroness Shirley Williams, a Liberal Democrat, said she was in "no doubt whatsoever that the bid should be put on the back-burner" until the police inquiry was complete.

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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:37 pm 
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The crisis engulfing David Cameron over phone hacking deepened on Saturday as Paddy Ashdown revealed that he had warned No 10 only days after the general election of "terrible damage" to the coalition if he employed Andy Coulson in Downing Street.

The former Liberal Democrat leader, who had been extensively briefed on details that had not been made public for legal reasons, was so convinced that the truth would eventually emerge that he contacted the prime minister's office.

Ashdown, a key player as the Liberal Democrats agonised over whether to join in a coalition with the Tories, told the Observer that, based on what he had been told, it was obvious Coulson's appointment as Cameron's director of communications would be a disaster.

"I warned No 10 within days of the election that they would suffer terrible damage if they did not get rid of Coulson, when these things came out, as it was inevitable they would," he said.

But Cameron refused to heed the advice and recruited the former News of the World editor, who was arrested by police on Friday over his role in the scandal, to be his right-hand man in charge of the media at No 10.

It has also emerged that Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, received similar briefings to those given to Ashdown before the election, which he raised with Cameron only to be rebuffed by the prime minister who insisted it was right to give Coulson a "second chance". Senior Whitehall sources say that Clegg was stunned by what he was told but concluded, after the coalition deal was struck, that he was powerless to change Cameron's mind. "Clegg said: 'It is not up to me to tell the prime minister who to appoint as his director of communications'," said a source.

Downing Street also faces fresh questions about why it failed to act on information passed by the Guardian to Cameron's director of strategy, Steve Hilton, about Coulson's professional relationship with private detective Jonathan Rees.

Downing Street appeared to alter its story from claiming that the information passed to it was merely that which appeared in the newspaper to claiming that "much" of it was. The Guardian insists that Hilton was told facts it had been unable to publish owing to legal proceedings, including the fact that Rees was awaiting trial for a murder and that he had been jailed for seven years for conspiring to frame a woman by placing cocaine in her car.

Coulson went on to be cleared by the security vetting team at Downing Street after three in-depth interviews about his professional and personal life. He was given "strap one" status, which allowed him the highest access to top secret material.

The news will raise fresh doubts about Cameron's judgment in bringing Coulson into the centre of government and comes as the Observer can reveal that Cameron's former director of communications, who was released on bail by police on Friday, has now been fired by his latest employer, Kate Robertson.

Robertson, chair of Euro RSCG, one of the world's largest advertising companies, hired Coulson after he was forced out of Downing Street by phone-hacking allegations earlier this year and gave him responsibility for promoting her charity, One Young World. She said she could no longer work with Coulson after last week's "sickening" developments, adding that she felt "naive".

Recounting an emotional conversation with Coulson only days before his arrest, Robertson, who says she still counts him as a friend, said: "Every time I have had a conversation, and I spoke to him at the beginning of this week, he said: 'If you feel you need to step away, step away'.

"And to be honest with you I was just going: 'I'm so devastated and so sorry'. The whole thing was absolutely horrific. I keep saying to myself how naive are you really?

"I never asked him what the truth was. I said what do you think your position is – this was months ago – and he said: 'It has been a terrible thing, I don't know that it is over'.

"And he always said: 'I will try to tell you what I know if I think it is going to be terrible, I don't want to damage One Young World in any way'. I accept the guy has now been arrested, but it is still a case of innocent until proven guilty.

"But, no, he can't do One Young World work at the moment, that is absolutely clear. I am really, really sad about the stuff this week. It is just awful and I can't say there haven't been a couple of big media figures who haven't said to me: 'You must be crazy, don't you realise he is going to get arrested?', because there have been. I am just so sad."

On Saturday Coulson denied a request from the Commons home affairs select committee for him to give fresh evidence, claiming it could prejudice the criminal investigation. News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks responded to questions about the possibility that more of her titles had been involved in phone hacking by claiming she had "no reason to believe" that was the case.

Meanwhile, a 63-year-old man who was arrested in Surrey on Friday night in connection with alleged corrupt payments made to police officers, was released on police bail. Police would not comment on suggestions that he is a private investigator. Coulson is due to answer bail at the beginning of October.

A Downing St spokesman said the issue of warnings about Coulson was being looked into.

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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:13 pm 
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The NoW has doubled its print run to five million for its final edition

Labour is calling for an immediate start to the judicial phone-hacking inquiry so evidence will not be lost when the News of the World closes.

News International has said a Guardian report that millions of e-mails may have been deleted was "rubbish".

Number 10 said that it was acting "as rapidly as possible and legally permissible" and that steps were being taken to appoint a judge to lead it.

It comes as staff are preparing the final edition of the Sunday tabloid.

Rupert Murdoch is expected to arrive in London on Sunday to take charge of dealing with the phone-hacking crisis that has engulfed his News International group.

Labour has written to No 10 to urge the immediate appointment of the judge to lead an inquiry into the scandal.

In a letter to the prime minister on Saturday, shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis asks for "immediate discussions so that by the end of the day we are in a position to agree the appointment of the judge" to head one of the independent inquiries into the scandal.

And Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman, said: "At the end of today, NoW will no longer exist, and if a judge is appointed in a few weeks or a few months time, all the staff will have separated and gone off their separate ways, all the computers, where will they be?

NoW editor Colin Myler paid tribute to his 'creative and talented' journalists
"We've got to make sure, because time's running out now, the clock is ticking...we must make sure that's not the way that Murdoch covers his tracks."

A News International spokeswoman said: "This assertion is rubbish. We adopted a documented e-mail retention policy in line with our US parent's records management policy.

"We are co-operating actively with police and have not destroyed evidence."

And the Church of England has threatened to pull its £3.7m investment from News Corporation unless senior executives are held to account for the phone-hacking scandal.

'Sad day'

This comes as News of the World (NoW) staff prepare its final edition, following the announcement of its closure on Thursday.

Editor Colin Myler told staff: "It's not where we want to be and it's not where we deserve to be, but I know we will produce a paper to be proud of."

At the News of the World's Wapping offices staff are sombre, but determined to make their last edition one to remember.

Some admit there may be tears, but also a sense of pride in producing what is likely to still be, even on its last day, Britain's best selling Sunday newspaper.

Editor Colin Myler held his morning editorial conference as usual, and now the paper's 280-strong team of reporters, sub-editors, designers and support staff are focussed on the deadline of 2015BST - traditionally the time the paper is "put to bed".

Tomorrow's final front page is being kept a closely-guarded secret - but an extra two million copies are being printed to cope with anticipated demand for a piece of newspaper history.

NoW final copy set for sales leap

Former NoW editor Andy Coulson, 43 who was arrested on Friday, said it was a "very sad day" for the newspaper.

"More importantly to the staff who, in my mind, are brilliant, professional people and I really feel for them."

News International has denied reports that the paper's offices are to become a designated crime scene when journalists leave.

"Following discussions with the police, all necessary steps have been taken to secure the information necessary for their investigations," a spokesman said.

Mr Coulson, 43, was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and alleged corruption and former royal editor Clive Goodman, 53, who was jailed in 2007 for phone hacking, was arrested on suspicion of corruption.

An unnamed 63-year-old man was arrested at an address in Surrey on suspicion of corruption.

All have been released on bail until October.

Inquiries

On Friday, David Cameron revealed details of two new inquiries relating to the scandal.

He said the judge-led inquiry would look into "why did the first police investigation fail so abysmally; what exactly was going on at the News of the World and what was going on at other newspapers".

Remit of police investigations
Operation Weeting - investigating phone hacking or intrusion into the private lives of hundreds of people. They aim to contact all those whose personal details were found in documents seized in 2006
Operation Elveden - investigating alleged police corruption. Documents handed over by News International on 20 June were assessed by police as including "information relating to alleged inappropriate payments to a small number of officers".

A second inquiry would examine the ethics and culture of the press, he added.

It has been revealed that News International's chief executive and former NoW editor, Rebekah Brooks, is no longer heading the firm's own inquiry into the scandal.

She told staff in an e-mail that those carrying out the investigation would now report to Joel Klein, a US-based senior executive at the company's owner, News Corp.

On Friday, Mrs Brooks held a meeting with NoW staff at its headquarters in Wapping.

A source present at the talks told the BBC she had informed staff they would eventually understand why the Sunday tabloid had to close.

Takeover questions

Meanwhile, Mrs Brooks denied all knowledge of the Milly Dowler hacking or any other case while she was editor, in a letter to MPs released on Saturday.

It followed a request for fresh evidence from Keith Vaz MP, chair of the home affairs select committee.

Rebekah Brooks' address to staff on Friday at the News of the World was captured on a secret recording
Mr Coulson's lawyers said it would be inappropriate for him to answer the committee's questions because of the active criminal investigation.

Mr Vaz said the committee would continue to investigate the issue.

Rupert Murdoch said on Saturday the decision to close the paper was "a collective decision".

The 168-year-old tabloid is accused of hacking into phones of crime victims, celebrities and politicians. Police have identified 4,000 possible targets.

The controversy has raised questions about the proposed takeover of satellite broadcaster BSkyB by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, ultimate owner of the NoW.

Broadcasting regulator Ofcom has written to the chairman of the Commons culture committee highlighting the watchdog's duty to ensure that anyone holding a broadcasting licence is a "fit and proper" person to do so.

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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:44 pm 
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RUPERT Murdoch’s aides warned Ed Miliband the tycoon’s papers would never again back Labour unless he dropped his demands for Rebekah Brooks to quit.

News International bosses told the party leader there would be ­“repercussions” if he continued his calls for the under-fire chief executive to resign over the News of the World phone hacking scandal, it was alleged yesterday.

The allegations, made by one of Mr ­Miliband’s team, came as former editor Andy Coulson, 43, and shamed royal editor Clive Goodman, 53, were both held over links to police corruption.

And there was growing concern at News International that Mrs Brooks may also face arrest.

She was editor when murdered 13-year-old Milly Dowler’s mobile was tapped into by journalists. Yesterday she told staff the News of the World had to be shut down because it had become “toxic”

Former Met Police deputy assistant commissioner Brian Paddick said: “If Andy Coulson has been arrested, it is inevitable that Rebekah Brooks will get an invitation from the police that she can not refuse. I can’t understand how a thorough police investigation that would arrest him would not arrest her.”

Mr Miliband, 41, was the first politician to call for Mrs Brooks to resign.

He said yesterday members of ­parliament should be “willing to speak out without fear or favour”. Mr Miliband added: “That’s what I did this week.

“For too long, political leaders have been too concerned about what people in the press would think and too fearful of speaking out about these issues.

“If one section of the media is allowed to grow so powerful that it becomes insulated from political criticism and scrutiny of its behaviour, the proper system of checks and balances breaks down and abuses of power are likely to follow.” Defiant Mrs Brooks, 43, was still refusing to quit, a day after telling 200 of her staff they faced the axe after Mr Murdoch and his son James pulled the plug on the 168-year-old paper. Sunday’s edition will be the last.

In a dramatic address to shell-shocked workers yesterday at News International’s Wapping HQ in East London, she blamed the journalists behind the phone hacking for the disaster. She added: “You may be angry with me, I ­understand. But I’m angry at the people who did this and feel bitterly betrayed.”

Mrs Brooks said advertisers decided it was a “toxic” brand and would not have survived “what was to come”.

But one furious member of staff told her: “What I don’t understand is, can’t you see that by your actions yesterday, you’re calling our newspaper toxic.

“We have all been contaminated by that toxicity and the way we’ve been treated. Can’t you see the bigger picture? You’re making the whole of News International toxic.” The attack was greeted by loud applause from those gathered.

Mrs Brooks replied: “There’s no toxicity attached to any of you in this room and that’s the sadness.”

But staff were still angry she clung to her job, despite being in charge during the Milly case, while they were being booted out. And the pressure on her grew as David Cameron announced he would have let her quit if he had been News International boss. The PM said: “It has been reported that she offered her ­resignation over this and in this situation I would have taken it.”

Police are also ­investigating claims that millions of emails were deleted by an ­executive to obstruct the Met’s probe into the phone hacking scandal. One of the alleged ­deletions is said to have been made at the end of January this year, just as the force was launching Operation Weeting, its new probe into the hacking of phone messages.

The archive is believed to date back to January 2005 revealing daily contact between editors, reporters and outsiders, including private investigators.

Detectives carry plastic bags of evidence from the home of Andy Coulson

Mr Coulson, – the PM’s former media chief – was held at Lewisham police station, South London, yesterday on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and alleged corruption. He had his mugshot, fingerprints and DNA taken and was quizzed all day.

The 43-year-old emerged at 7.30pm. He told waiting reporters: “There’s a lot I would like to say but can’t.”

He was then driven to his home in Dulwich. After stepping from the car, he went inside without commenting.

Mr Coulson has been released on police bail to return on a date in October.

Goodman, jailed for his part in phone hacking in 2007 along with private ­investigator Glenn Mulcaire, was arrested at his Surrey home at 6.11am and quizzed at a South London police station. His property was searched by detectives.

Three officers later spent two hours at the Daily Star Sunday’s offices, where he is now a reporter, and took away a disc containing his computer records.

A Daily Star Sunday spokesman said: “Scotland Yard sought our help as they investigated allegations of police corruption involving the News of the World and its former royal editor Clive Goodman.

“They were particularly interested to check Mr Goodman’s current email contacts to cross-match them with those from his time at the News of the World.

“There was no suggestion whatsoever that Mr Goodman had acted improperly during his occasional shifts here, and we can confirm that no payments of any kind were ever made by the ­newspaper to Clive Goodman contacts.” Goodman was also released on police bail

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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:02 pm 
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Mr Spock wrote:
The crisis engulfing David Cameron over phone hacking deepened on Saturday as Paddy Ashdown revealed that he had warned No 10 only days after the general election of "terrible damage" to the coalition if he employed Andy Coulson in Downing Street.

The NoW has doubled its print run to five million for its final edition

Number 10 said that it was acting "as rapidly as possible and legally permissible" and that steps were being taken to appoint a judge to lead it.


I've not read all that (yet) but where to start anyway! :rolleyes:

Ashdown needn't have warned them ffs, they already knew. If this was a "wake up call" as he said it was he must be the most stupid PM we've ever had... damage limitation my ass I dunno how he gets away with it*, if he was so disgusted why was Coulsen (sp?) employed at all? There lies, damned lies and politics. They're all bent on on the payroll anyway. :rant:

* Oh yeah I do... they're feckin' stupid.

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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:25 pm 
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David Wooding, political editor of the News of the World
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 9 July 2011 18.31 BST

It was a good day for the bad guys. Villains, paedophiles and corrupt politicians will be able to sleep more soundly now that the greatest investigative newspaper on Earth has gone.

Saturday was a sad ride down memory lane as we prepared the historic final editions of the News of the World.

Combing through the great scoops of the past 168 years brought home the immensity of the decision to shut down Britain's top-selling Sunday tabloid.

Security teams moved in to take down the 42 epic front pages hanging proudly on the wall of our second-floor office suite in east London. They detail the agenda-setting stories churned out week after week by the dedicated, professional and honest – yes, honest – staff who until midnight worked here.

Several hail the prolific scoops of investigations editor Mazher Mahmood, the fake sheikh, who nailed his 250th villain last year. And there's the more recent exclusive about the cricket match-fixing sting which won scoop of the year at the British Press Awards. This story highlights more than anything what the end of the Screws means for the future of investigative journalism. The editor had to stump up £140,000 in cash in the hope that the story worked out.

Investigative journalism is already on the slide and it's unlikely that any other newspaper will step into the breach now. I worked on six other national news organisations before joining the News of the World 18 months ago and know that few are prepared to invest in journalism of this scale, cost and ambition.

But week after week, the 200 or so staff here churned out papers to knock spots off the opposition. In my short time here, I've been swept along by the pride and integrity of the team who have shown how sometimes scoffed-at popular journalism can be a force for good as well as entertaining.

Yes, the one about footy star Ryan Giggs having an eight-year affair with his sister-in-law was classic red-top fodder. But there was also the campaign for a Sarah's Law to protect children from predatory paedophiles. And earlier this year, my political team was proud to have played a part in forcing the prime minister to honour his pledge to enshrine the military covenant in law, meaning a better deal for our armed forces who put their lives on the line.

Under the leadership of editor Colin Myler, we have all worked hard to pull this paper from the shadow of its dark past. So it was nothing short of tragic to walk into the office on Saturday, knowing that this issue will be the last.

It is sickening to think that the activities of a private investigator hired by former employees five or more years ago not only blackened the name of a great brand, but eventually drove it to extinction.

There was sadness, simmering anger, handshakes and hugs as we gathered for one last time. Someone brought in a box of cup cakes, each bearing a letter in icing that spelled out "News of the World".

One colleague – dressed appropriately in black – summed it up: "Never have the careers of so many been affected by the actions of so few."

The familiar tapping of computer keyboards was punctuated by the beeping of mobile phones as hundreds of supportive text messages came in from friends, contacts and supporters.

As the souvenir edition went to press at 6pm it was like a family farewell and all that went with it. Gallows humour, tears, laughter – and final photographs. At 6pm Colin Myler led the staff out of the door and into the lifts for the last time.

Sundays won't be the same again.

The loss of the News of the World from our lives is a bombshell like the break-up of the Beatles, the collapse of Woolworths and the end of Concorde.

Only this time, instead of reporting the story, we are it.

Britain's crooks, thieves, conmen and fakers won't miss the News of the World. But everyone who loved a great story, well told, will

Whats really shocking is that he believes this

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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:18 pm 
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Posted by Duncan Robinson New Statesman - 08 July 2011 16:54

How is this phone hacking thing going to end? Rebekah Brooks: "With Alan Rusbridger on his knees, begging for mercy."

Rebekah Brooks said that the phone-hacking scandal would end with Guardian editor "Alan Rusbridger on his knees, begging for mercy", according to Nick Davies in this week's Media Talk podcast over at the Guardian. Davies continues: "They would have destroyed us. If they could have done, they would have shut down the Guardian."

Elsewhere in the podcast, Rusbridger talks about the resistence to covering the scandal from within Fleet Street. "I was told from time to time that this was not helpful for Fleet Street," said Rusbridger. "The only thing that was going to damage Fleet Street was the failure to deal with this seriously. If the PCC had acted in 2009. . . then I think the News of the World would still be alive."

The general gist of the podcast is: "Ha, ha, we were right!" You can hardly blame them. People who should know better repeatedly told the Guardian that they were on a hiding to nothing, and yet we are now staring at a scandal that has brought down Britain's most read newspaper, revealed widespread corruption in the police and shaken the Prime Minister. The Guardian deserves its moment in the sun.

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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:58 pm 
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The last issue of the News of the Worldis thought to have shifted all 4.5 million copies printed, as the public set aside their anger over phone hacking and rushed to pick up the final hurrah of the 168-year-old paper.

According to unofficial figures reported by The Guardian, yesterday saw the highest sales of the Sunday tabloid since 1998.

The paper, which was shut down after being implicated in the phone hacking scandal, hit newsstands with its front page bearing the headline "Thank You & Goodbye", backed up by an emotional editorial signing off after more than 150 years in print.

The final circulation represented a 70% increase on the paper's usual sales of around 2.66m copies. Official figures will be released later today or early tomorrow. The News of the World is understood to have sold out the entire run of copies put out yesterday, despite fears that the public would shun the paper at the heart of shocking phone hacking revelations.


Well Done Britain :rolleyes: :suicide:

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:24 pm 
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The Sunday Times is alleged to have targeted the personal information of the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the time he was chancellor, a BBC investigation has found.

Documents and a phone recording suggest "blagging" was used to obtain private financial and property details.

The Browns also fear medical records relating to their son Fraser, whom the Sun revealed in 2006 had cystic fibrosis, may have been obtained.

News International is yet to respond.

The latest allegations relate to personal details it is claimed were obtained for a front-page Sunday Times report that Gordon Brown had purchased a flat owned by Robert Maxwell at a "knock-down price".

Blagging, or "knowingly or recklessly obtaining or disclosing personal data or information without the consent of the data controller" has been illegal since 1998.


:ohmy: The Sun & The Sunday Times were also at it???? Noooooooooooooooo

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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:32 pm 
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James Landale

Deputy Political Editor, BBC News

Gordon Brown is said to be "shocked" after it was alleged the Sunday Times targeted his personal information when he was Chancellor.

Documents and a phone recording suggest "blagging" was used to obtain private financial and property details.

The Browns also fear medical records relating to their son Fraser, whom the Sun revealed in 2006 had cystic fibrosis, may have been obtained.

News International said it would investigate the claims.

A spokeswoman for Gordon Brown said the former prime minister had "now been informed of the scale of the intrusion into his family's life".

"The family has been shocked by the level of criminality and the unethical means by which personal details have been obtained. The matter is in police hands," he said.

Mr Brown's wife Sarah has responded to the news on Twitter with a message which read, "so sad to learn all I am about my family's privacy - it is very personal and really hurtful if all true #notw et al".

In a statement, News International said: "We note the allegations made today concerning the reporting of matters relating to Gordon Brown. So that we can investigate these matters further, we ask that all information concerning these allegations is provided to us."

The company, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, owns the Sun and the Sunday Times, and also owned the News of the World which was shut last week amid allegations of phone-hacking and illegal payments to police officers.

Addressing MPs in the the Commons, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt described blagging as an "awful" practice and said the judge-led inquiry into phone-hacking would look at all illegal methods newspapers may have used in the past to obtain information.

In other developments in the phone-hacking scandal:

Evidence has been found suggesting a News of the World reporter tried to buy a phone book containing Royal Family numbers
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall may have also been targets of phone-hacking conducted at the News of the World, according to the Guardian
Scotland Yard says it believes stories have been leaked to the media as part of a "deliberate campaign to undermine" its inquiry into claims that bribes have been paid to some officers
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt confirms that he is referring News Corp's bid to take over BSkyB to the Competition Commission. It comes after News Corporation withdrew its proposed undertaking to sell Sky News as part of its bid.
The family of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler met Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to discuss concerns that her phone may have been hacked by the News of the World. The Dowler family called on Rebekah Brooks - the newspaper's editor at the time - to resign as chief executive of News International
The BBC understands Rebekah Brooks could be questioned by police as a witness, rather than a suspect. Mrs Brooks has denied having had any knowledge of hacking while she was editor from 2000 to 2003
Labour MP Tom Watson says the position of John Yates, assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan Police who led the original investigation into phone hacking, is "untenable"
Prime Minister David Cameron said he had had no information to suggest Mr Coulson knew about phone hacking when he employed him but if "those assurances were untrue, I would be incredibly angry and incredibly let down
The latest allegations relate to personal details it is claimed were obtained for a front-page Sunday Times report that Mr Brown, who later became prime minister, had purchased a flat owned by Robert Maxwell at a "knock-down price".

Blagging, or "knowingly or recklessly obtaining or disclosing personal data or information without the consent of the data controller" has been illegal since 1994.

'Deception scheme'

The blagging reports concern alleged attempts by someone said to be acting for the Sunday Times who posed as Mr Brown and obtained details of his Abbey National account in January 2000.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The decision to refer News International's bid for BSkyB to the Competition Commission has not got the government off the hook. But it has won ministers some political wriggle room.

There will now be an automatic six month-plus breathing space while the commission does its work. This is not ministers dragging things out by consulting further but a formal pause, relieving pressure for a decision.

At the same time, the government has also tried to give itself some more political space by stepping up the pressure on News Corporation.

The prime minister said that if he was Rupert Murdoch, he would concentrate on cleaning up the phone hacking mess at News International rather than focusing on the next corporate move. The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, was more explicit, saying that Mr Murdoch should drop the bid.

But the government itself was on the receiving end of some ferocious political pressure in the House of Commons.

Labour leader Ed Miliband was cheered on by his MPs when in particular he questioned David Cameron's account of how he came to hire Andy Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World, as his head of communications. He said it "beggars belief" that none of Mr Cameron's officials passed on warnings about Mr Coulson and added: "This issue goes to the heart of the prime minister's integrity." Strong stuff, the parliamentary equivalent of saying: "I don't believe you."

Tory MPs hit back by pointing out how Labour had repeatedly failed to tackle the issue of phone hacking. But in the Commons it was Labour MPs who had their tails up.

It was discovered by the building society's fraud department which alleged someone successfully called their Bradford call centre six times pretending to be Brown and were given information.

In letters obtained by the BBC, the Abbey National wrote to Sunday Times editor John Witherow concluding it had suspicions that "someone from the Sunday Times or acting on its behalf has masqueraded as Mr Brown for the purpose of obtaining information from Abbey National by deception."

The Abbey National said to Mr Brown's lawyer it was a "well-orchestrated scheme of deception".

Abbey National has not been able to identify the blagger, and did accept in a letter to Mr Brown it did not have conclusive evidence.

However, the Guardian journalist Nick Davies has alleged a former actor John Ford carried out specialised blagging from banks during this period for the Sunday Times. This allegation is detailed in his book Flat Earth News.

On the reports on Fraser Brown having cystic fibrosis, the Brown family believe only medical staff treating their son had access to the records, and are worried they may have been accessed illegally.

A well-placed source has told the BBC that in 2006 when she was editor of the Sun, Rebekah Brooks called the Browns to inform them she knew that their son Fraser had the condition.

Friends of the Browns say the call caused them immense distress, since they were only coming to terms with the diagnosis, which had not been confirmed.

It has also emerged that Scotland Yard wrote to Mr Brown and his wife Sarah warning them that their personal details have been found in notebooks belonging to Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator jailed for six months in 2007 for hacking into the phones of royal aides.

Mr Brown's spokesman said he had passed all relevant information to the police "some time ago".

This contradicts advice given to Mr Brown last year.

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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:40 pm 
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Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has announced that it is dropping its planned bid to take full ownership of BSkyB.

The announcement came as the House of Commons was preparing to vote for a motion calling on Mr Murdoch to do so.

All three major party leaders had said they supported the motion, which would not be legally binding on News Corp.

The decision follows days of allegations about phone hacking by News Corp subsidiary News International.

"We believed that the proposed acquisition of BSkyB by News Corporation would benefit both companies, but it has become clear that it is too difficult to progress in this climate," said News Corp chairman Chase Carey in a statement.

"News Corporation remains a committed long-term shareholder in BSkyB. We are proud of the success it has achieved and out contribution to it."

The BBC's business editor Robert Peston said: "It's a huge humiliation. This was [News Corp's] biggest investment plan of the moment. It was one of the biggest investments they've ever wanted to make.

"It is an extraordinary reversal of corporate fortune... And questions will now be asked whether this is the full extent of the damage to the empire."

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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:48 pm 
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The sun have issued a strong response to the allegations regarding Gordon Browns family claiming that Mrs Brown agreed that they could run the story in order to raise awareness.

Also, they point to the fact that Brown was very angry that The Sun turned on Labour in the lead in to the General Election as one of the reasons that he suggested foul play.

I imagine as always in these sort of things the truth lies somewhere in the middle.


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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:51 pm 
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Well i listen to WFAN New York.... and there's a groundswell of resentment regarding the hacking of 9/11 victims & if they (America) turn on him, the whole empire may sink

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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:00 pm 
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Like it...

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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:04 pm 
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JSP wrote:
The sun have issued a strong response to the allegations regarding Gordon Browns family claiming that Mrs Brown agreed that they could run the story in order to raise awareness.

Also, they point to the fact that Brown was very angry that The Sun turned on Labour in the lead in to the General Election as one of the reasons that he suggested foul play.

I imagine as always in these sort of things the truth lies somewhere in the middle.


Theres a column in the New Statesman where Hugh Grant has 'bugged the bugger' - its worth a read. News papers do have a tendency to talk to their victims, say something somewhat different to them and then print what they want, its more likeley that they contacted the Browns and told them that they were going to print whatever the Browns said or did and Mrs Brown has said something along the lines of 'if you're going to do that I cant really stop you' and they'll call that agreement.

They turned on Brown a long time before the 2010 election.

frankly i dont like Brown, he was the wrong man at the wrong time and I dont like the way he bullied his way to the party leadership, but Ive experienced news papers version of the truth at first hand more than once and I believe the truth will lie nowhere near anything the Sun says.

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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:06 pm 
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Its to be hoped that they take Fox news at the very least away from him.

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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:37 pm 
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Mr Spock wrote:
Theres a column in the New Statesman where Hugh Grant has 'bugged the bugger' - its worth a read. News papers do have a tendency to talk to their victims, say something somewhat different to them and then print what they want, its more likeley that they contacted the Browns and told them that they were going to print whatever the Browns said or did and Mrs Brown has said something along the lines of 'if you're going to do that I cant really stop you' and they'll call that agreement.

They turned on Brown a long time before the 2010 election.

frankly i dont like Brown, he was the wrong man at the wrong time and I dont like the way he bullied his way to the party leadership, but Ive experienced news papers version of the truth at first hand more than once and I believe the truth will lie nowhere near anything the Sun says.


Was only really giving an update on what's going on with these allegations AFAIK Brown hasn't responded to the Sun although they haven't really commented on the other allegations (might of been against the times) that Browns financial information was hacked.

Like I said in almost any story the truth sits somewhere in the middle as both sides will exagerate a few bits to make their story sound the most believable. The fact that the the sun show pictures of brown smiling next to Murdoch and attending Brookes wedding both after the story was leaked suggests that he did have some knowledge of it but like you say once the press have it your fairly powerless to stop it.

Wont even bother getting into politics as I'm out of my depth when it comes to discussing politics with anyone about the age of about 5.


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 Post subject: Re: NOTW is no more
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:11 pm 
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He wont have responded because the Lawyers will have advised him not to, its never a good idea getting into a slanging match with the journos, especially the ones that work for Murdoch titles. As for smiling at RBs wedding, she did a very good job of pretending to be nice and getting in with people, from what I've read she has a rep (right or wrong) for slipping the knife in your back whilst giving you a big lovey hug.
The politicians were too scared of the newspapers too, think of being the short kid at school who tries to keep the school bully happy and pretend not to disaprove in the hope that someone else gets beaten up instead, or to whom the bully pretends to be nice so they can copy your homework, to the world you look like you're being the bully's mate. in your eyes, you're just in self preservation mode.

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