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UK govt defends Murdoch ties as scandal spirals

LONDON – Britain’s Conservative-led government denied Saturday that it was too close to Rupert Murdoch’s scandal-hit media empire, as the mogul apologized for phone hacking by one of his tabloids in full-page newspaper ads across the country. Government records show that Prime Minister David Cameron had scores of meetings with media executives in the past year, including more than 20 with Murdoch employees. Rupert Murdoch’s son James, his former British lieutenant Rebekah Brooks and ex-News of the World editor…