- Associated Press - Thursday, July 14, 2011

LONDON (AP) - Rupert Murdoch is defending News Corp.’s handling of a U.K. newspaper scandal, saying his media company will recover from any damages wrought by phone-hacking and police bribery allegations.

The 80-year-old told The Wall Street Journal _ which is owned by News Corp. _ that he is “just getting annoyed” at all the recent negative press.

Murdoch dismissed reports he would sell his U.K. newspapers to stem the scandal, calling the suggestion “total rubbish.”

He also rejected criticism of his son James’s response to the crisis, saying “he acted as fast as he could, the moment he could.”

Earlier Thursday, Murdoch caved in to pressure from Britain's Parliament as he and his son James first refused, then agreed, to appear next week before lawmakers investigating phone hacking and police bribery.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

LONDON (AP) _ Rupert Murdoch and his son James first refused, then agreed Thursday to appear before U.K. lawmakers investigating phone hacking and police bribery, while in the U.S., the FBI opened an investigation into allegations the Murdoch media empire sought to hack into the phones of Sept. 11 victims.

Those two developments _ and the arrest of another former editor of the scandal-sunk U.K. tabloid News of the World _ deepened the crisis for Murdoch’s News Corp., which has seen its stock price sink as investors ask whether the scandal could drag down the whole company.

British lawmakers took the dramatic step of issuing a summons to the once all-powerful Murdochs after the father and son said they would not appear before Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday.

Within hours, the Murdochs made room in their schedules after all.

“We are in the process of writing to the select committee with the intention that Mr. James Murdoch and Mr. Rupert Murdoch will attend next Tuesday’s meeting,” News Corp. spokeswoman Miranda Higham said.

The committee later confirmed it had received a letter confirming the pair’s attendance.

It was another victory for politicians over the Murdochs _ something that would have been all but unthinkable just two weeks ago.

In New York, a law enforcement official said the FBI is investigating allegations that employees of News Corp. tried to hack into the telephones of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

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