ENGLAND ““ (CNN) Hugh Grant took aim at the British press on Monday, calling the hacking of a murdered schoolgirl’s voicemail “cowardly and shocking.” The British actor also accused newspapers of using criminals as paparazzi and the Mail of hacking into his voicemail. Grant was testifying before a government-backed inquiry into press ethics sparked by public outrage at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World newspaper. The Sunday tabloid was shut down in July after the revelation that it had hacked into the voicemail of the murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler. Dowler’s mother, Sally, explained on Monday how the hacking had given her false hope that her missing daughter was still alive. After describing her joy at finding voicemails had been deleted from her daughter’s phone, leading her to believe that Milly was still alive, Sally’s face fell as she recalled the moment she found out it was a News of the World private investigator deleting her daughter’s messages. Grant said he thought he had also been a victim of phone hacking. Grant’s accusation widens the scope of the British newspaper phone-hacking scandal, which has focused mostly on Murdoch-owned titles so far. The Mail on Sunday is not a Murdoch newspaper.
HUNGARY ““ (BBC) Hungary has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU) for financial assistance. As the eurozone debt crisis has unfolded, official figures showed that the Hungarian government’s total debt has risen to 82% of its output, as its currency, the forint, has weakened. Hungary has said it wants “a new type of cooperation” with the IMF. The IMF team in Budapest will now return to Washington to discuss the request. The nation received an IMF-led bailout in 2008, but Prime Minister Viktor Orban ended the 2008 IMF deal, which had been agreed under the previous government, last year. Since then, he has put in place a series of unconventional measures, including big taxes on banks and an effective nationalization of pension funds.
ITALY ““ (CNN) Italy’s new Prime Minister, Mario Monti, won a key vote of confidence in his new government on Friday, as he seeks to lead the country out of financial crisis. The lower house voted overwhelmingly in support of his fledgling government, with 556 votes in favor to 61 against, a day after the Senate also voted 281 to 25 in favor. Monti, who took office on Wednesday, presented his proposals for the new technocratic government Thursday. He said the main points of his program are balancing the budget, promoting growth, and cutting down on social disparities. He also said overhauling Italy’s pension system, fighting tax evasion, and cracking down on organized crime will be key steps. He has also chosen to serve as finance minister until he nominates someone else for the post. Speaking to lawmakers ahead of the vote on Friday, Monti said his government’s intention was to stay in power only until the next elections, due in 2013, and that would only happen with Parliament’s support.
TURKEY ““ (BBC) The bodies of Yaanis Mellersh, eight, and Mira, six, and their German mother Elke Mellersh, 45, were found in the town of Soke on Friday. The children were supposed to be in the custody of their father, Justin Mellersh, 46, in Germany. His family lives near Lyndhurst in the New Forest. They were reported missing in 2010 and their mother was wanted on suspicion of child abduction in Germany. A police spokeswoman said she went missing from her home in Germany nearly two years ago and had been wanted ever since by the German police. Authorities in Turkey are investigating the deaths and the Foreign Office said it was providing consular advice.