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PORTUGAL CRISIS PROVES I WAS RIGHT, SAYS OSBORNEChancellor George Osborne, joining other EU finance ministers in Budapest today to discuss Portugal's plea for a E90bn loan, has said the Portuguese crisis proves Britain's austerity measures are justified and that those who deny it are "playing Russian roulette with Britain's national sovereignty". Labour's Ed Balls accused him of "scaremongering".
NEWS INTERNATIONAL ACCEPTS PHONE-HACKING LIABILITYNews International has admitted liability in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. The company says it has already offered some of the 24 claimants an "unreserved apology" and will set up a compensation fund to cover the costs, which it hopes will not exceed £20m. The development came after the arrest of a NoW reporter and former news-editor earlier this week.
MORE LIBYAN REBELS KILLED BY NATO AIR STRIKESNato jets are claimed to have mistakenly killed seven more Libyan rebels when they struck a column of tanks which had been captured from Gaddafi forces at the oil town of Brega. The incident follows the deaths of 13 rebels in an earlier attack at Ajdabiya. The 'friendly fire' killings come amid growing evidence that rebel forces are unable to organise and to win a war on their own, even with air cover.
Crispin Black: David Cameron learns about war the hard way
SARKOZY THREATENED TO 'SMASH FACE' OF JOURNALISTPresident Sarkozy told a journalist that he "should smash your face in" after his magazine Le Point printed "24 tips" on how to handle his new wife Carla Bruni. One was: "Do not introduce your new wife to your sons, Barack Obama or any handsome men." The furious response from Sarkozy came in a phone call described in Franz-Olivier Giesbert's book, M. Le President.
MOUSSA KOUSSA INTERVIEWED OVER LOCKERBIELibyan defector Moussa Koussa, former intelligence chief, has been interviewed by Scottish police investigating the Lockerbie bombing. Prosecutors believe he has information on the 1988 terrorist attack on Pam Am Flight 103 and want to know if Col Gaddafi, who has admitted Libyan responsibility, ordered the attack himself.
Li-LO TO PLAY GOTTI'S DAUGHTER IN NEW MOVIELindsay Lohan is to play Victoria Gotti, the daughter of the New York Mafia boss, in an upcoming movie. The troubled 24-year-old is rumoured to have been personally picked over Blake Lively and Sienna Miller by the real Victoria Gotti, who is a family friend. The biopic Gotti: Three Generations will also star John Travolta.
US GOVERNMENT POISED TO SHUT DOWNThe stand-off between Republicans in Congress, Democrats and the White House over the budget will shut down all Federal government operations bar national security and essential services at midnight tonight, unless a last-minute deal is reached, which is deemed unlikely. More than 800,000 employees will be laid off, fighting troops will miss pay, and the Smithsonian museum will close.
TIDE OF TSUNAMI DEBRIS THREATENS OCEAN SHIPPINGA tide of debris that includes whole floating houses, trucks and acres of tangled wood washed out to sea in the Japanese tsunami threatens shipping and ocean life as it begins to drift across the Pacific towards California. More than 200,000 buildings were swept away, along with vehicles and, it is believed, thousands of bodies.
ONE KILLED IN NUCLEAR SUBMARINE SHOOTINGOne person has been shot dead and another critically injured on board the nuclear submarine HMS Astute. The police have arrested one man in relation to the incident, and have stressed that it was not terrorist related. The submarine is currently docked in Southampton.
FORMER MINISTER MORLEY 'GUILTY' IN EXPENSES SCANDALFormer environment minister Elliot Morley, 58, has pleaded guilty in magistrate's court to fiddling his parliamentary expenses, dishonestly claiming £30,428 in mortgage payments. The Labour MP for Scunthorpe until May 2009 is Parliament's biggest expenses cheat. He is free on bail until sentencing. Three former Labour MPs are already in jail, and Tory peer Lord Taylor is awaiting sentence.