Rupert Murdoch says he should not have questioned the competence of police carrying out an investigation into wrongdoing at his newspapers. In a secretly taped recording that emerged earlier this month the media baron called wrongdoing by his local newspapers “next to nothing” and described cops as “totally incompetent.” In a letter responding to a lawmaker’s request to explain his comments, Murdoch said he had used the “wrong adjectives” when voicing his frustration with the investigation. He added that he is “in no position to judge the competence of the investigation and should never have done so,” but that he feels the phone-hacking probe has “gone on too long.”
Tail banned from pool
A Florida woman has been banned from swimming in her community’s pool because she wants to wear a mermaid tail. Jenna Conti had been in the Aquatic Club pool with her custom-made tail once before with the staff’s approval, but on Monday night, the FishHawk Community Development board voted to keep her out of the pool because of the swim fin policy. The Tampa Bay Times reports that Conti’s dream is to swim at the Florida Aquarium, which features mermaid performers.
PM survives vote
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has survived a no confidence vote as he struggles to prevent early elections amid deep differences over the austerity measures the country is pursuing in return for rescue funds. The proposal, pushed in parliament by the Green Party, failed by 131 votes to 87. Coelho, who is leader of the Social Democrats, is negotiating with the junior party in the coalition and the main Socialist opposition to see if an agreement can be cobbled together. A deadline of tomorrow has been set.
A Norwegian black-metal musician was charged with inciting racial hatred on Thursday, but released after police decided he was not planning an attack, an official at the Paris prosecutor’s office said. Kristian “Varg” Vikernes, 40, was arrested with his wife on Tuesday after her recent purchase of four rifles aroused suspicion. The official said Vikernes would be judged over some of his writings, which the prosecutor had decided was an incitement to racial hatred. Vikernes was convicted in 1994 of stabbing a rival musician to death in Oslo and burning down several churches.