News of the World , the 168-year-old Sunday tabloid with the largest circulation of any newspaper in the U.K., will permanently cease publication following next weekend's edition. News International Chairman James Murdoch made the announcement this morning (Thursday) as new allegations of illegal activities by the newspaper's staff and hired agents emerged and as major advertisers pulled their ads. Murdoch said that no ads will appear in Sunday's edition. On its website, The New York Times observed that Murdoch's statement was so sudden that the News of the World was still advertising a subscription deal after it was made.
(Earlier) At least five arrests of employees of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp are expected "within days," CNBC reported today (Thursday), as the hacking scandal embroiling the company's most profitable publication, the British tabloid News of the World , continued to snowball. CNBC, citing sources familiar with the situation, said that it is not known which reporters and executives of News Corp will be arrested but more information may come by the end of the week. The information comes as Britain's Guardian newspaper disclosed that a senior reporter for News of the World had used photographers and vans leased to the paper to follow Scotland Yard Detective Chief Superintendent David Cook while he investigated the case of two private detectives, Jonathan Rees and Sid Fillery, who had been accused of murdering their former partner, Daniel Morgan. The Guardian article maintained police showed evidence of the surveillance to the then-editor of News of the World, Rebekah Brooks, now head of News International, which oversees News Corp's news operations in the U.K., and informed her that they were aware that one of the detectives, Rees, was earning up to $250,000 a year selling information to the News of the World and that he was kicking back a percentage of that amount to Alex Marunchak, a senior reporter for the tabloid, who allegedly arranged for the use of the vans and reporters for the surveillance. The Guardian further claimed that information about Cook, including his home address, his cellphone number, his wife's cellphone number and voicemail password, his Scotland Yard payroll number, and other information from the Yard's own confidential files, was accessed by Glenn Mulcaire, a private detective working for News of the World . Brooks reportedly replied that they were investigating Cook because the paper had received information that he was having an affair with Jacqui Hames, host of BBC Crimewatch . In fact, the Guardian pointed out, Cook and Hames were married and had two children and often appeared together in public. "The story was complete rubbish," one source told the newspaper.