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Singer Charlotte Church settles phone hack claim

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LONDON (AP) - Singer Charlotte Church, a former teen sensation who has been the subject of intense tabloid intrusion, has settled her phone-hacking lawsuit against the publisher of the News of the World tabloid, lawyers told Britain's High Court on Thursday.

The settlement announced in court with the defunct Sunday newspaper comes days before the case was due to go to court. Terms of the settlement were not immediately disclosed, with more details expected at a court hearing Monday.

Church, a popular singer who is now 25, has been famous in Britain since her early teens. In December she testified before Britain's media ethics committee, complaining bitterly about how Rupert Murdoch's tabloids had used illegal means to pry into her private life.

She said the constant media scrutiny was unbearable, complaining that a tabloid reported she was pregnant before she had even told her parents, news she felt had to come either from surveillance or phone hacking.

On another occasion the News of the World reported on her father's extramarital affair under the headline "Church's three in a bed cocaine shock." Church said her mother had attempted suicide partly as a result of this invasion of privacy.

News International, a division of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., has tried hard to keep phone hacking cases from going to trial. It has launched its own compensation program, overseen by a judge, and has paid out millions in out-of-court settlements for about 60 cases, settling with a variety of celebrities, politicians and relatives of crime victims.

Dozens more claims are in the pipeline, including one from Cherie Blair, the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is suing News International for alleged phone hacking.

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