WORLD: FBI to probe phone hacking

FBI to probe phone hacking

LONDON -- Rupert Murdoch and his son James first refused, then agreed Thursday to appear before U.K. lawmakers investigating phone hacking and police bribery, while in the U.S., the FBI opened a review into allegations the Murdoch media empire sought to hack into the phones of Sept. 11 victims.

Those two developments -- and the arrest of another former editor of a Murdoch tabloid -- deepened the crisis for News Corp., which has seen its stock price sink as investors ask whether the scandal could drag down the whole company.

Murdoch defended News Corp.'s handling of the scandal, saying it will recover from any damage caused by the phone-hacking and police bribery allegations. The 80-year-old told The Wall Street Journal -- which is owned by News Corp. -- that he is ''just getting annoyed'' at all the recent negative press.

Libya says attack repelled

TRIPOLI, Libya -- Libyan forces repelled a coordinated attack by NATO forces and rebels against a strategic oil town in the east of the country, the government spokesman said Thursday.

The announcement came as Libya also barred Italy, one of the country's largest investors, from its oil sector because of Rome's role in the NATO airstrikes.

Moussa Ibrahim told journalists that rebel forces attacked the town of Brega backed by NATO forces in the sea and air in a coordinated attack that he said violated the alliance's U.N. mandate to protect civilians.

Chavez creates new agency to oversee prices

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Ailing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez capped a busy Thursday full of pronouncements and speeches by signing a decree that creates a new state authority to oversee prices.

The action aims to attack one of the biggest challenges facing the oil-exporting country: annual inflation hovering near 24 percent that is the highest in Latin America.

In a televised Cabinet meeting, Chavez said the new ''national system of costs and prices'' will prevent businesses from overcharging Venezuelans and ensure ''fair prices.''

''Speculation should end,'' Chavez said.