BBC news 2011-07-19

BBC News with Iain Purdon

A second senior police officer has resigned in Britain in connection with the scandal over phone hacking and alleged corruption in the Rupert Murdoch newspaper empire. Assistant Commissioner John Yates stood down 24 hours after his boss, Britain's top police commander Paul Stephenson. Naomi Grimley reports.

John Yates said his resignation was a matter of "deep regret", but the ongoing phone-hacking scandal was becoming a distraction from his job leading Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism unit. He said he'd been a victim of some malicious gossip and speculation. Earlier, details had emerged of his links with a former News of the World journalist, who'd been hired as a media consultant for the Metropolitan Police. Meanwhile, David Cameron is leaving his tour of Africa early in order to deal with the ongoing crisis, and parliament is to delay its summer holiday too to discuss the matter further.

A former reporter who made allegations of widespread phone hacking by the newspaper at the centre of the scandal, the News of the World, has been found dead at his home near London. Police say they are not treating his death as suspicious. With more details, here's June Kelly.

Sean Hoare was a show-business reporter for the News of the World when Andy Coulson was editor. He was the first journalist to claim that Andy Coulson knew about phone hacking on the paper. Mr Coulson, who's always denied the claim, was arrested recently. Police were called to Sean Hoare's home in Watford this morning, and he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards. Police said the death was currently being treated as unexplained but not thought to be suspicious. Sean Hoare had drink and drugs problems, and was said to be in poor physical health.

Libyan rebels say they are largely in control of the key oil town of Brega after fighting in residential areas. They say Colonel Gaddafi's forces are retreating westwards along the coast and that rebel troops have surrounded the town. From Tripoli, Christian Fraser reports.

The rebels have been held back for four months, but since Thursday have been mounting wave after wave of attacks to try and dislodge the loyalist forces who were dug in. In Tripoli, the government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim, who's become the face of the regime, held an impromptu press conference to deny reports that one of Colonel Gaddafi's sons commanding loyalist forces in the town had escaped to Sirte. Mr Ibrahim said in contrast information coming from the rebel side: Colonel Gaddafi's forces have repelled every attack from the sea, along the coast road and from the desert.

The Pakistani army says a video showing 16 policemen being killed by the Taliban appears to be genuine. The footage recorded on a mobile phone shows the policemen lined up while a Pakistani Taliban commander accuses them of being enemies of Islam. Taliban gunmen are then seen to open fire at close range. The killings happened last month near the Afghan border.

World News from the BBC

The American General John Allen has taken over as commander of international forces in Afghanistan from General David Petraeus, who's to be the new head of the CIA. At the handover ceremony, General Allen said he was under no illusions about the challenges in Afghanistan. The change in command comes as Nato forces begin passing control of some areas to their Afghan counterparts.

The United States Senate is to hold daily sessions including at weekends until legislation is passed to raise the government's limit on borrowing. The Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said this was necessary to prevent the US from defaulting on its obligations. Meanwhile, the American Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has urged Europe to act more forcefully to solve the crisis in the eurozone. Chris Morris reports.

The US treasury secretary is now urging Europe to get its act together to contain what he calls the escalating debt crisis in the eurozone. It's a sign that everyone knows the crisis will ripple far beyond European shores if it continues to worsen. Something will emerge when eurozone leaders meet on Thursday, but will it be comprehensive enough to calm the markets? The trouble is there are still competing ideas about how to put together a second bailout for Greece. The challenge is producing an agreement that everyone can live with.

The Venezuelan government says there is no doubt that President Hugo Chavez will stand for re-election next year despite the fact that he's undergoing cancer treatment in Cuba. Earlier, President Chavez issued an upbeat message ahead of a second day of chemotherapy treatment, saying he would win his battle for life.

The President-elect of Peru, Ollanta Humala, has called on members of his family to stop making comments in the media or trying to take advantage of their relationship with him. Mr Humala, who takes office next week, said the best way to help a president was to let him work.

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