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Scottish first minister believes The Observer hacked his bank account

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Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said Wednesday he believed his bank account was accessed by the Observer, a sister paper of the Guardian which helped expose a phone-hacking scandal.

Salmond told the Leveson inquiry, a wide-ranging probe into press ethics, he had no evidence that Rupert Murdoch’s now defunct News of the World tabloid had illegally accessed his voicemails.

But he added: “My bank account was accessed by the Observer newspaper some time ago, in 1999, and my reason for believing that is I was informed by a former Observer journalist.”

He said the person knew details about purchases he made for his nieces that could only have come from the so-called “blagging” of his bank account, which happened during the run-up to elections in Scotland.

“I believe that there is a substantial case that illegality was rife across many newspaper titles,” Salmond said.

The Observer is the Sunday sister paper of the left-leaning Guardian, whose investigation into hacking by the News of the World resulted in the closure of Murdoch’s top-selling British paper in July 2011.

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Salmond faced criticism in April after the Leveson inquiry heard that Murdoch’s News Corp believed the Scottish first minister would intervene on behalf of its bid to take control of pay-TV giant BSkyB.

Prime Minister David Cameron set up the inquiry to probe the ethics of the press and its relations with politicians and the police after the hacking scandal erupted.

[Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond via AFP Photo/Andy Buchanan]

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New details revealed in the bizarre story of Jerry Falwell Jr, a pool boy and ‘compromising photographs’

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The New York Times has put together a lengthy report about the utterly bizarre circumstances surrounding Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., former Trump "fixer" Michael Cohen, a former pool boy, and purportedly "compromising photographs."

The story begins in 2012 when Falwell and his wife enjoyed a stay at the Fontainebleau, a Florida luxury resort known for topless sunbathing and a massive underground nightclub described by one travel guide as "30,000 square feet of unadulterated fun."

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Revealing gruesome new details of Khashoggi murder, UN report says ‘inconceivable’ crown prince not involved

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In a thorough and damning report on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi released Wednesday, United Nations special rapporteur Agnes Callamard found that Khashoggi was "the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing" that was likely orchestrated by top officials in the Saudi government, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"Evidence points to the 15-person mission to execute Mr. Khashoggi requiring significant government coordination, resources, and finances," Callamard wrote. "Every expert consulted finds it inconceivable that an operation of this scale could be implemented without the crown prince being aware, at a minimum, that some sort of mission of a criminal nature, directed at Mr. Khashoggi, was being launched."

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Critics lament as 126 House Democrats join forces with GOP to hand Trump ‘terrifying’ mass domestic spying powers

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Privacy advocates and civil liberties defenders are expressing outrage after the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday night voted down a bipartisan amendment designed to end, as one group put it, the U.S. government's "most egregious mass surveillance practices" first revealed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In a final vote of 253-175, it was 126 Democrats who joined with 127 Republicans to vote against an amendment introduced by Rep Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) that would have closed loopholes in Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that critics charge has allowed the NSA to abuse warrantless surveillance capabilities and target the emails, text messages, and internet activity of U.S. citizens and residents. See the full roll call here.

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