News International CEO Brooks Resigns, Turkey Hosts Libya Talks

BY News Desk  July 15, 2011 at 8:29 AM EST

News International CEO Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of British tabloid News of the World, announced her resignation Friday after weeks of mounting pressure. Brooks oversaw the now-shuttered newspaper from 2000 to 2003, when it allegedly hacked into subjects’ cellphones.

Brooks expressed a feeling of “deep responsibility for the people we have hurt” in a written statement. British Prime Minister David Cameron expressed satisfaction with her decision to step down.

In light of the scandal in Britain, the FBI announced Thursday it is launching an investigation into whether News Corp. entities hacked into the phones of 9/11 victims’ families. Both owner Rupert Murdoch and his son James have agreed to testify before members of Britain’s parliament.

News Corp. is the parent company of News International and a range of media properties, leading to speculation that the News of the World scandal could have far-reaching consequences.

Brooks, 43, had been with the company for 22 years.

“[W]e support her as she takes this step to clear her name,” James Murdoch said.

Clinton: U.S. to Recognize Libya Opposition

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Friday that the United States will extend diplomatic recognition to Libya’s opposition, formally acknowledging it as the legitimate government of Libya. Frozen Libyan government assets in the United States add up to nearly $30 billion.

As months of protracted fighting continues between opposition forces and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s troops, the Contact Group on Libya is meeting in Istanbul to discuss ways to maintain diplomatic and military pressure on Gadhafi. Rebels say they are in urgent need of more aid.

Thirty countries have agreed to recognize the opposition’s Transitional National Council as the legitimate governing force in Libya.

The move is another step in equipping the rebels in their effort to topple Gadhafi. According to the Associated Press:

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been pledged to special financial mechanism, but tens of millions in frozen Gadhafi regime assets in the U.S. and elsewhere are still inaccessible to rebels because of the lack of recognition and U.N. sanctions.

Libyan rebels sit at the back of a pick-up truck before leaving Ajdabiya to the front line near the oil town of Brega, as the West backed off from arming the rag-tag fighters and pushed for a political solution instead, on April 1, 2011. Photo by Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images.

Report: Ahmed Wali Karzai’s Assassin Once Worked With U.S.

Sardar Mohammad, the bodyguard who shot and killed Ahmed Wali Karzai, the half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, had spent years working with the United States and its allies, helping to provide information that led to the arrest of members of the Taliban, according to the Washington Post.

Mohammad was shot and killed immediately by other bodyguards. His motives are unclear. Ahmed Wali Karzai had powerful political and business interests, and investigators have not determined if Mohammad had switched allegiances, was working in concert with insurgents over a period of time or if he acted alone. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing.

Read more: Q&A: What Does the Assassination of Ahmed Wali Karzai Mean for Afghanistan?

Photo by Associated Press

Thousands Flee Path of Indonesian Volcano

A volcano on Mount Lokon released several blasts of hot ash and lava late Thursday and early Friday, sending thousands of nearby residents fleeing to safety. One person died of a heart attack, but no direct injuries were reported.

Though some 33,000 people live within range of Mount Lokon, many had already evacuated. Police helped an addition 5,000 people leave on Friday. The government also provided an estimated 60,000 masks to people in the area.

Indonesia has 129 active volcanoes. In November 2010, Mt. Merapi erupted, killing more than 300 people in its path.

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