July 18th, 2011
10:25 AM ET

CFR.org Roundup: Phone-hacking scandal threatens British Prime Minister


Editor's Note: The following is reprinted with the permission of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Sir Paul Stephenson, commissioner of the UK's Metropolitan Police, commonly known as Scotland Yard, resigned (DailyTelegraph), following revelations that he had employed former News of the World editor Neil Wallis as a personal advisor.

Wallis was arrested last week on suspicion of phone-hacking while at the newspaper, though Stephenson claimed that Wallis was not involved in the scandal while working for him in 2009.
 Stephenson said he had not told Prime Minister David Cameron about Wallis's employment so as not to "compromise" Cameron (FT), whose former communications chief, Andy Coulson, was also arrested for phone-hacking activities at News of the World.

Stephenson's resignation followed mounting criticism that reporters at British conglomerate News International's now-closed News of the World bribed UK police officers (WashPost) for information on phone-hacking victims.
 The scandal has threatened to bring down News International's parent company: media mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

Two of the company's most senior executives (Bloomberg)–former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks and former Dow Jones CEO Les Hinton, who presided over News International during the height of the phone-hacking abuses–resigned last week. Brooks was arrested (Guardian) in London on Sunday. Murdoch and his son, James, will testify before the UK Parliament on Tuesday.

At the same time, News Corp. faces a potential fallout in the United States (WSJ), as the FBI investigates whether the phones of 9/11 victims and their families were hacked by any News Corp. publications.

Analysis: 
David Cameron's friendship with Rebekah Brooks and employment of Andy Coulson puts him at the center of the phone-hacking story, writes the Daily Telegraph.
 The Guardian's Duncan Campbell says the Metropolitan Police is at the heart of the phone-hacking scandal, and calls on former police chief Stephenson to tell his story.
News Corporation looks likely to weather its scandal. But it may end up becalmed–and lose some crew to boot, argues the Economist.

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 MIDDLE EAST: Syrian Forces Descend on Eastern Town


Over a thousand Syrian security forces deployed by President Bashar al-Assad surrounded the eastern town of Albokamal Sunday, where dozens of Syrian soldiers defected (NYT) from Assad's regime to join in anti-government protests.

Egypt: In an effort to meet ongoing demands for deeper political and economic reforms  by Egyptians in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the interim government of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf reshuffled his cabinet (al-Jazeera) to include at least fifteen new ministers.

The "Arab Spring" has given way to a series of developments that are producing a region that is less tolerant, less prosperous, and less stable that what existed–and outsiders cannot do much to change the course of events, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass in this Financial Times editorial.

PACIFIC RIM: UN Orders Thailand, Cambodia to Withdraw Troops


The United Nations' International Court of Justice ordered Thailand and Cambodia to withdraw troops from a disputed border area (BBC) near the ancient Preah Vihear temple, following bouts of deadly fighting between the two nations.

China: Chinese officials lodged a formal complaint with the U.S. embassy in Beijing over President Barack Obama's private meeting with the Dalai Lama (WSJ), saying bilateral relations had been damaged ahead of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to China next month.

SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA: Allen Takes Over in Afghanistan


U.S. General John Allen replaced General David Petraeus as the commander (al-Jazeera) of U.S.-led international troops in Afghanistan, as troops prepare for a gradual drawdown from the ten-year war.
President Obama's decision to remove thirty thousand troops from Afghanistan in just over a year heightens the difficulty in securing the east and south of the country against far-from-defeated Taliban forces, writes CFR's Max Boot in this CFR First Take.

Afghanistan: The Taliban took credit for the murder (Dawn) of Jan Mohammad Khan, a key advisor of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in an attack on his Kabul residence.

To receive daily updates in your inbox sign up for CFR.org's Daily News Brief.

AFRICA: Yemen's al-Qaeda Aided Somali Militants


According to new U.S. intelligence, the Yemeni branch of al-Qaeda provided weapons, fighters, and training to Somalia's powerful al-Shabaab (LAT) militants over the past year.  The news comes as the Islamist opposition movement allowed UN food and medicine (al-Jazeera) to be delivered to territory held by al-Shabaab for the first time.

AMERICAS: Budget Talks Stalled


With just five days left until President Obama's deadline to negotiate a deficit-reduction package in order to raise the debt ceiling, congressional Republicans and the White House have hit a dead end (WSJ). The Senate could reveal a back-up plan this week to allow Obama to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling, while kicking any agreement on deficit-reduction measures further down the road.

With the deadline looming for resolving the U.S. debt standoff, concern is rising among international creditors and markets about the largest economy and home of the world's reserve currency, explains this CFR Analysis Brief.

Venezuela: Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez handed over some presidential powers (MercoPress) to his vice president and finance minister over the weekend, before leaving to Cuba for chemotherapy treatment.

EUROPE: Spain, Italy Boosted by Stress Tests


Spain's Santander and Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo were among the leaders in last week's European banking stress tests, a significant boost (FT) for the two eurozone nations, which are considered to be on the brink of contagion in the continent's widening sovereign debt crisis.
The eurozone, once seen as a crowning achievement in the decades-long path of European integration, is a buffeted by a sovereign debt crisis of nations whose membership in the currency union has been poorly policed, explains this CFR Backgrounder.

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Topics: Daily Roundup • United Kingdom

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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    More heads are going to roll within Scotland Yard! A spa break – worth £12.000 – was Paul Stephenson's stumbling block. The top brass in the politics were on friendly terms with Rebekah Brooks and Murdoch's entourage. Yet there's NO independent and ad hoc committee to probe into this "NEWSGATE" scandal.
    Murdoch had weathered many storms. He's now 80. I doubt if his business would bounce back. His children lack his remarkable ruthlessness.

    July 18, 2011 at 10:49 am | Reply
  2. morris wise

    Missing is the names of the individuals that the Murdoch Organization wiretapped, it could have been thousands. He pressed his luck too far and expanded into corporate espionage, that was when his operation was shuttered.

    July 18, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Although corruption in the British police is not endemic. I'm sure some knew about the phone hacking and turned a blind eye to Murdoch's machinations, which must have been part of his corporate culture worldwide, as we today see.

      July 19, 2011 at 5:19 am | Reply
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    July 19, 2011 at 10:20 am | Reply
  4. Muin

    How is journalistic integrity possible if journalists have very few limited options to work on media? Very few selected companies now owns the entire media empire. Finding integrity among journalists will only gets harder.

    July 19, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Reply

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