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April 12, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

News International, the umbrella group for Rupert Murdoch’s news operations in the U.K., has apologized to another nine persons who have filed invasion-of-privacy lawsuits against it and has offered to settle their cases, That brings to 17 the number of celebrities and politicians contacted by the news organization so far as the scandal over telephone hacking by its reporters at its Sunday tabloid News of the World continues to expand. Citing an unnamed source, the London Financial Times said that among the latest figures to be contacted by News International are British comedian Steve Coogan, former soccer star Paul Gascoigne, and British TV actress Leslie Ash. Last week Ash claimed that her voicemails had been accessed by N.I.’s News of the World while she was being treated for a virulent staph infection at a London hospital. “The most painful things … had been said, while I was in hospital, to my kids, to my husband [along with] things really, really personal to my agent. … All those worries about if I was going to work again, if I was going to walk again … I just feel horrible thinking that someone’s been able to access my private messages.”