The Week's "10 Things..."

10 things you need to know today: May 15, 2012

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In this July 2011 file photo, Rebekah Brooks, former chief executive of News International, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., leaves a hotel in central London: Brooks is expected to be charged Tuesday in connection with the company's phone-hacking scandal.

France’s president is sworn in, News Corp’s Rebekah Brooks will be charged, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion

Francois Hollande was sworn in as France’s new president on Tuesday, amid fresh concerns over European debt. The country’s first Socialist president since 1995, Hollande has criticized the austerity measures built into bailout plans for flailing countries like Greece and Ireland. At his inauguration, he stressed the importance of stimulating economic growth. After his swearing in, Hollande will head to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a vocal advocate of fiscal restraint who is also known for having a close partnership with Hollande’s conservative predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy. [CNN]

Prosecutors say that Rebekah Brooks, a key aide to Rupert Murdoch and the former head of News International (a subsidiary of Murdoch’s News Corp.), will be charged with three counts of “conspiracy to pervert the course of justice” in relation to the phone-hacking scandal that has rocked Murdoch’s media empire. Brooks’ husband Charlie, as well as her former personal assistant, her chauffeur, and two others will also be charged. [Los Angeles Times]

In the wake of a stunning $2 billion trading loss, former JPMorgan employees say the bank ignored concerns they had expressed about trades being made that were too complex and risky. The former employees spoke to The New York Times on the condition of anonymity because of the nature of the investigations into the trading losses. [New York Times]

According to a new CBS News/New York Times poll, 1 in 4 registered voters are less likely to vote for President Obama because he issued his support for same-sex marriage. Sixteen percent say they are now more likely to support the president, while 58 percent say it won’t affect their vote. [CBS News]

Crowds took to the streets in Gaza to celebrate Monday, after Israeli and Palestinian officials reached an agreement to end a 77-day-long hunger strike among Palestinian prisoners. Under the deal, Israel agreed to ease conditions for some Palestinian prisoners. Some prisoners may still continue their protest unless they are released. [CNN]

Iran has executed Majid Jamali Fashi, a man convicted of conspiring with Israel to kill one of Iran’s nuclear scientists. Several Iranian nuclear scientists have been mysteriously killed in recent years. Israel has claimed that terrorists are behind the killings, while Iran has blamed Israel and the United States. [CNN]

In response to demand, the social networking giant has raised the target price of its stock for its upcoming IPO. Earlier this month, Facebook set a range from $28 to $35 a share, but it’s now raising the target range to $34 to $38. That gives Facebook a value as high as $104 billion. Facebook’s IPO roadshow to pitch investors started last week; shares are set to begin trading Friday. [Reuters]

Six people survived the plane crash in Nepal on Monday that left 15 dead. The survivors include two Danish trekkers, two Indian children, a Nepali air hostess, and an Indian man who is said to be in critical condition with head injuries. The deadly crash was the second in less than two years for local air carrier Agni Air. [Pakistan Daily Times]

Howard Stern made his debut as a judge on America’s Got TalentMonday night. Critics are saying that on primetime the notorious shock-jock comes across as a “sweet old man” and “beloved uncle.” [Washington Post]

A new study finds that sleepwalking is more prevalent than previously thought, with 30 percent of participants reporting to have sleepwalked at some point in their lives and 3.6 percent saying they have done so in the last year. Sleeping pills, antidepressants, and certain psychiatric disorders can increase the likelihood of sleepwalking. [Washington Post]



LulzSec claims to have obtained trove of News Corp. emails

Raw Story

Online hacking group LulzSec said Monday night it had obtained a large cache of emails from the servers of News International, the News Corp. subsidiary which oversees global media baron Rupert Murdoch’s British newspapers.

Along with the emails, LulzSec said it had unearthed the email logins and passwords for News International executives, including former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks, who was arrested recently in connection to the paper’s phone hacking schemes.

A Twitter account connected with the hackers said they planned to release the emails online tomorrow. Also unearthed were phone numbers for News International officials, along with personal information about an online content editor.

News International, which hosts The Sun, responded by taking their mail servers offline. Hackers also took down the News International website, forcing it to redirect to a Twitter account for LulzSec.

One hacker going under the name “Sabu” — thought to be a co-founder of LulzSec — told The Independent that other publications which traffic in “bullshit reporting” will be targeted next.

“New York Times, Forbes, LA Times, we’re going in,” Sabu reportedly said.

LulzSec made a bit of a comeback last night after allegedly retiring, going active again to hack Murdoch newspaper The Sun, redirecting readers to a fake story about the media mogul’s untimely suicide.

At the same time, hackers launched a successful Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack againstThe Times and, which they called a “fan site.”

In June, LulzSec described The Sun as “the shittest UK publication in existence,” adding, “if you don’t kick, hit or throw some kind of sports-related object at least thirty-five times a week, you are a filthy recluse to The Sun.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice have launched their own investigations into whether News Corp. participated in the hacking of 9/11 victims or U.S. officials.

So far, 10 people have been arrested in connection with a British investigation into the News Corp. hacking scandals.

The FBI also said Tuesday that it was serving search warrants across the U.S., in search of members of Anonymous.

Murdoch News Scandal

Rebekah Brooks, Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch, Sir Paul Stephenson And John Yates All To Appear Before Parliament

The hearings should  produce some interesting facts about the Murdoch newspaper empire and the people behind the hacking scandal…

Huffington Post UK

Westminster is bracing itself for one of the biggest days in recent parliamentary history, as two select committees prepare to quiz some of the key players in the News of the World phone hacking and police corruption scandals.

At stake is the reputation of the police, News International and the abilities of two dozen MPs, who’ll seek answers from those at the centre of a conspiracy which has rocked both the British government and one of the world’s largest companies. Eyes across the globe will be watching the evidence.

Click Here For Live Updates.

At midday the Home Affairs Committee will quiz two men who, until 48 hours ago, were among the most senior police officers in Britain. Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates have both resigned from the Metropolitan Police in connection with the scandals.

Continue reading here…

Rupert Murdock

Murdoch Under Seige


Undoubtedly the devil is in the details…

Huffington Post

To his many enemies, Rupert Murdoch is getting his comeuppance.

Murdoch’s tabloid newspapers long have reveled in the misdeeds of others with salacious photos and pun-packed headlines. Now, one of the world’s most powerful media executives is learning what it’s like to be enveloped in his own scandal.

“There is a feeling that Murdoch has been king of the world for too long and it’s about time that somebody brought him back to Earth,” says Mungo MacCallum, a political journalist and commentator who once worked for a Murdoch-owned newspaper, The Australian.

But no one is calling press conferences to gloat about Murdoch’s troubles. Even his bitterest media rivals are keeping quiet.

Liberty Media chief John Malone, who engaged in media-mogul head butting with Murdoch over his stake in Murdoch’s News Corp and other issues, did not return a message seeking comment that was left with a spokeswoman.

CNN founder Ted Turner, who once challenged Murdoch to a boxing match in Las Vegas, was unavailable, according to a spokesman.

New York Daily News Publisher Mort Zuckerman, whose newspaper fights every day for front page dominance with the Post for New York’s tabloid audience also did not return a message seeking comment.

It’s hardly surprising, of course. Despite a scandal that has claimed two of his top executives and led him to close one of his British tabloids, Murdoch still runs News Corp., one of the world’s most imposing media empires. There’s no percentage in gloating publicly about the scandal if you still have to compete – and perhaps do business – with the 80-year-old Murdoch.

But others aren’t as charitable. In recent days, Murdoch has drawn comparisons to a cruel monarch, Richard Nixon, even the devil.

Continue reading here…

Weekend Talking Points

Weekend talking points: 7 top stories

Here’s a look at what the talking heads were discussing on the Sunday Shows, courtesy of The Week Magazine.

D.C. fails to solve its debt problems

The risk of a U.S. debt default loomed larger this week, assparring Republicans and Democrats struggled to reach a deal to raise the nation’s legal borrowing limit. If no deal is reached by early August, President Obama warned, Social Security checks might be in jeopardy. Will threats like that help him win the political spin war against John Boehner and score a grand bargain?

Rupert Murdoch faces a growing scandal

More targets — including, allegedly, 9/11 victims — of phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers surfaced this week. Murdoch’s top lieutenants stepped down Friday, the media mogul has shut down the 168-year-old News of the World, and he’s even scrapped his bid to take over British broadcaster BSkyB. Naturally, the media is all over the raging scandal — with the notable exception of Murdoch’s Fox News.

Mumbai grapples with terrorism again 

Three bombs exploded in Mumbai on Wednesday, killing at least 20 people, injuring many more, and increasing tension between India and Pakistan, where some suspect this attack may have originated. Days before the blasts, the U.S. announced it was pullinghundreds of millions in military aid for Pakistan, hoping to get better cooperation in the fight against Islamist extremists. Can anyone bring peace to the region?

Michele Bachmann stays in the spotlight

With Obama’s poll numbers falling, opportunity is knocking for the GOP. The surging Bachmann may just be Republicans’ new presidential frontrunner, though fellow Minnesota conservative Tim Pawlenty says her lack of congressional accomplishments makes her unfit for the White House. Bachmann is also being dogged by anABC News report about the Christian counseling center her family owns, which reportedly tries to “cure” homosexuality.

Women’s soccer distracts a nation

 The U.S. women’s national squad shocked Brazil with a gasp-worthy late comeback in the World Cup quarterfinals, in one of the sport’s most dramatic wins in years. Then, the Americans defeated France in the semifinals. The gutsy U.S. team will face off against Japan in the finals on Sunday. What makes this squad of little-known talents so special?

Netflix annoys its customers

The movie rental and streaming service delivered an unexpected blow to its subscribers on Tuesday: A price hike of up to 60 percent. While DVD lovers clamor for the heads of Netflix execs, Google+ has more than satisfied its users, by reaching 10 million members mere weeks after its launch. Why is Google+ doing so well?

Harry Potter says goodbye

With Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 out in theaters this weekend, fans are saying their final farewells to the tortured boy wizard. Aspiring magicians of all ages are offering tributes to J.K. Rowling’s revolutionary franchise, which sold more than 450 million books, and brought in $6 billion at the box office. Re-live the biggest milestones in Harry’s 14-year run.


Lawmakers split on Murdoch scandal


Reacting to the arrest of media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s former deputy, Rebekah Brooks, in the ongoing scandal over potentially illegal activity by executives at the British tabloid, News of the World, two members of Congress disagreed on Sunday about whether they should pursue an investigation into the actions of Murdoch’s American papers.

Asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether he would like to see congressional hearings to investigate whether there was any wrongdoing in Murdoch’s domestic news organizations, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)  said, “Yes, I would.”

“What’s going on in England is startling to think of the extent that they went to to break the law to try to report a story,” Durbin said. “We need to follow through with the FBI investigation and also with Congressional investigation.”

But Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), appearing on the same program, said that Congress has more pressing tasks in front of it.

“We need to let law enforcement work here,” DeMint said. “Congress has got a big issue in front of us. We need to handle our own business for a change.

Related articles

News Corp · News of the World Hacking Scandal · Rupert Murdock

Rebekah Brooks Arrested In Connection With Phone Hacking Scandal

This isn’t looking good for the Murdoch empire…

Huffington Post

Rebekah Brooks has been arrested, the Metropolitan Police confirmed on Sunday.

The former News International chief executive went to a London police station by appointment and was arrested on suspicion of corruption and phone hacking.

Brooks is the 10th person to be arrested in connection to the new investigation into allegations of phone hacking at the News of the World.

In a statement, police said: “The MPS has this afternoon, Sunday 17 July, arrested a female in connection with allegations of corruption and phone hacking.

“At approximately 12.00 hrs a 43-year-old woman was arrested by appointment at a London police station by officers from Operation Weeting together with officers from Operation Elveden and is currently in custody.

“She was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to Section1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977 and on suspicion of corruption allegations contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.

“The Operation Weeting team is conducting the new investigation into phone hacking.

“Operation Elveden is the investigation into allegations of inappropriate payments to police. This investigation is being supervised by the IPCC.

“It would be inappropriate to discuss any further details regarding these cases at this time.”

Brooks is due to appear before Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday afternoon. The Chairman of that committee, John Whittingdale, says he doesn’t know at this stage how the arrest of Mrs. Brooks will affect her planned evidence.

Media lawyer Mark Stephens said police were trying to get a grip on the scandal. He told Sky News: “I think the police are trying to move pretty quickly… One of those areas of concern is the suggestion that officers at all levels may have been the subject of receiving money as Rebekah Brooks told parliament when she last appeared before them.”

Rebekah Brooks has released a statement saying she is assisting police with her inquiries, and this was a pre-arranged appointment.

Live updates here…


Rupert Murdock

Murdoch ‘Sorry For Serious Wrongdoing’ In Newspaper Ad Campaign

Huffington Post

New Corp chief Rupert Murdoch has published a signed apology for “serious wrongdoing” by the News of the World in a series of full-page newspaper adverts.

The ads appear in Saturday’s Daily Mail, Financial Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Independent, Sun and Times.

Murdoch says in the advert: “We are sorry. The News of the World was in the business of holding others to account. It failed when it came to itself.”

A second advert is expected to appear in tomorrow’s newspapers in which Murdoch will outline the steps that News International will take to try and win back the public’s trust.

The advert says:

“We are sorry for the serious wrongdoing that occurred. We are deeply sorry for the hurt suffered by the individuals affected. We regret not acting faster to sort things out.”

“I realise that simply apologising is not enough. Our business was founded on the idea that a free and open press should be a positive force in society. We need to live up to this.”

“In the coming days, as we take further concrete steps to resolve these issues and make amends for the damage they have caused, you will hear more from us. Sincerely, Rupert Murdoch.”

Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International and former editor of the News of the World, resigned from Murdoch’s company on Friday. So too did Les Hinton, a senior News Corp executive.

Fox GOP Pac · Fox News · News Corp · Rupert Murdock

Rupert Murdoch phone hacking scandal becomes U.S. political issue

It appears to me that we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in the News International/News Corp scandal.  With the Obama administration’s FBI and Department of Justice poised to investigate the American side of any possible breaking of the law by Murdoch’s publications here, one can only imagine the blow-back from Fox News’ conservative commentators during this protracted election season.  Or, will they hold back on the usual vitriol tossed at Obama and his administration?  I certain it will be the former.


The spiraling crisis at News Corp.’s London tabloids, which on Friday claimed its first American scalp, is threatening increasingly to spill over into American politics.

The scandal has handed talking points to Democrats and a political cudgel to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, which is bracing for what’s become the usual battle with Fox News, whose evening lineup features some of the most powerful voices of conservative opposition, but whose corporate cousin is now being investigated by the Obama administration.

For News Corp., Friday seemed to mark a watershed moment in its position as a dominant – and often intimidating – media conglomerate.

Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed the “ongoing investigation” into allegations that reporters for its defunct News of the World hacked into the telephone of September 11 victims in the United States. And a day after chairman Rupert Murdoch downplayed the scandal in an interview with his own newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, two of his top lieutenants, Rebekah Brooks and Les Hinton – the paper’s publisher and a naturalized American citizen — were forced to resign, as the company pivoted from defiance to contrition.

Mainstream American politicians of both parties have generally avoided open combat with Murdoch, with Bill and then Hillary Clinton famously seeking to court him and reach an accommodation. Even Obama, who has warred openly with Fox at times, has more recently pulled back, even after seven-figure contributions to groups tied to the Republican Party were reported last year.

But Murdoch, wounded, suddenly appears mortal, and his enemies are emboldened.

Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes “is going to be hamstrung,” said Murdoch biographer and AdWeek editor Michael Wolff. Ailes “operates independently, but in this context he will not be able to operate independently: This is going to be in the hands of lawyers and higher PR officials, and it will not be about what’s good for Fox, it’ll be what’s good for News Corp. and for an ultimate settlement.”

A Fox spokesperson dismissed Wolff as a “gadfly” and didn’t respond to a question about the News Corp.’s scandal’s impact on the network. A New York Post spokesman referred questions to a News Corp. spokeswoman, who didn’t respond to an inquiry on the topic.

Read more here… 

Related articles

News Corp · Rebekah Brooks · Rupert Murdock

Head of Murdoch’s British operations quits

It was only a matter of time that Rebekah Wade Brooks would either be fired or allowed to resign with “dignity”…

L A Times

Rebekah Brooks, the head of Rupert Murdoch‘s British operations, resigned Friday after days of intensifying pressure on her because of the growing phone-hacking scandal.

One of the most influential women in Britain until the scandal broke wide open last week, Brooks said in a statement that she was stepping down as chief executive of News International because she had become a “focal point” in the scandal and therefore a distraction to efforts to repair the damage.

“I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt and I want to reiterate how sorry I am for what we now know to have taken place,” Brooks wrote to her colleagues at News International.

The company is the British subsidiary of Murdoch’s giantNews Corp. and owns such storied titles as the Times ofLondon and the Sun tabloid. Until this past Sunday, the weekly News of the World, Britain’s bestselling newspaper, was also one of the company’s holdings. But News International abruptly shut it down after 168 years of existence because of allegations that it ordered the hacking of cellphones belonging to a wide swath of British society, including celebrities, politicians and crime victims.

Continue reading here…