BBC news 2011-07-15

BBC News with Sue Montgomery

The Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States has opened an inquiry into allegations that Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation sought to hack into phones of victims of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington 10 years ago. The decision followed requests from several American politicians. Here's Andrew North in Washington.

As allegations of criminal behaviour by Rupert Murdoch's newspapers in the UK have flowed across the Atlantic, the pressure has been mounting on News Corporation here in the US, which produces most of its income. Several congressmen have lined up to say he should be investigated in particular over claims his journalists may have hacked into the phones of victims of the 9/11 attacks. An FBI source has said it is now looking into these allegations following a letter from the New York Republican Peter King.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has said that he and his son James will after all attend a British parliamentary committee hearing to answer questions about the phone-hacking scandal surrounding one of his newspapers in Britain.

The Italian Senate has approved an austerity budget worth $68bn in an effort to prevent the European debt crisis from engulfing the country. The cuts have been rushed through after financial markets began speculating that Italy was facing a Greek-style debt repayment crisis. Austerity measures in Greece have provoked violent protests. The BBC's Gavin Hewitt reports on Italian reaction.

They seem more accepting at the moment, the Italian people. And certainly the atmosphere here is not similar to Greece at the moment. Yes, public sector wages are going to be frozen; there will also be cuts to some health services, but I think at the moment people recognise that this is a necessary price that has to be paid. One essential difference: the political parties here have united behind these austerity measures; in Greece, the government had to sort of force them through with a very narrow majority.

Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga says it will open a new Kenyan camp to refugees fleeing the drought and conflict in Somalia. Work there was suspended this year as the Kenyan government had been wary of encouraging an exodus from Somalia. Mr Odinga made the announcement during a visit to the nearby Dadaab camp, which is struggling to cope with 380,000 people. Kevin Mwachiro reports.

Thursday's announcement that the Ifo extension camp can now be opened could not come at a better time. Currently over 1,300 refugees are streaming (in) daily into Kenya from war-torn Somalia. After spending the day touring various sections of the camp, Prime Minister Raila Odinga noted that the conditions that the refugees were living under were unacceptable. The new camp has a capacity to accommodate up to 80,000 refugees. Work had previously begun on the camp but was stopped earlier this year by the Kenyan government, who had cited security concerns as one of the reasons for the closure.

World News from the BBC

The Turkish authorities say Kurdish rebels have killed at least 13 soldiers in an ambush in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir. Seven others were wounded; two of them are in a critical condition. The attack, which happened in broad day light, is the first since the Kurdistan Workers' Party, the PKK, ended a ceasefire in February.

The United Nations General Assembly has voted to admit newly independent South Sudan as its 193rd member. From the UN in New York, Barbara Plett.

It was a breezy, sunny day in midtown Manhattan, and the wind caught the South Sudan flag as it unfurled in front of the United Nations. The flagpole was borrowed from Mauritius for the ceremony, but that didn't detract from the significance of the event or the enthusiasm of the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

"The United Nations is very pleased to welcome our 193rd member state - the newest nation in Africa, the newest nation on Earth."

The flag has six colours, including white for peace but also red for suffering, marking the millions of dead and displaced during decades of civil war with the north.

The United States has set out a new strategy for defending its military computer networks from attacks by hackers, saying it will in future treat the Internet as an operational domain in which to fight them. General James Cartwright told reporters that the focus was still on defence but offensive approaches were also needed.

The Tajik authorities have released the BBC reporter Urunboy Usmonov on bail a month after he was detained on charges of having links with a banned Islamic party. But an official statement said the criminal case against him would continue and that he would not be allowed to leave the country. The Tajik government has faced international criticism over his detention. Mr Usmonov told his BBC colleagues that he was happy to be reunited with his family and grateful to those who had supported him.

BBC News.