News of the World final edition published, ending 168 year run

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On Sunday, opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband warned that a Murdoch takeover of BSkyB should not be allowed while a phone-hacking investigation is ongoing.

Oct. 1, 1843 marked the first edition of News of the World, which published its final newspaper Sunday. (Photo: Associated Press)

"When the public have seen the disgusting revelations that we have seen this week, the idea that this organization, which engaged in these terrible practices, should be allowed to take over BSkyB, to get that 100 percent stake, without the criminal investigation having been completed...frankly that just won't wash with the public," he told the BBC.

Buying the News of the World in 1969 gave the Australian-born Murdoch his first foothold in Britain's media. He went on to snap up several other titles, gaining almost unparalleled influence in British politics through the far-reaching power of his papers' headlines.

Murdoch has opted to remain largely silent amid the fallout, issuing one official statement describing the allegations as "deplorable and unacceptable."

Many journalists and media watchers have expressed astonishment that Rebekah Brooks, who was editor of News of the World when some of the hacking allegedly occurred, was keeping her job at head of News Corp.'s U.K. newspaper operations while the paper's employees were laid off.

Murdoch on Saturday told reporters in Sun Valley, Idaho, that Brooks had his "total" support.

The scandal exploded this week after it was reported that the News of the World had hacked the mobile phone of 13-year-old murder victim Milly Dowler in 2002 while her family and police were desperately searching for her. News of the World operatives reportedly deleted some messages from the phone's voicemail, giving the girl's parents false hope that she was still alive.

Brooks told lawmakers she had "no knowledge whatsoever" of the Milly Dowler hacking or any other case while she was editor, according to a letter published by Britain's home affairs select committee on Saturday.

The News of the World's last edition contained a 48-page souvenir pullout section highlighting the paper's scoops and its coverage of big moments in history. Despite the recent scandal, many viewed the paper as a force for good, exposing numerous political, celebrity and sports scandals.

The paper has been praised for its role in getting a sex offender law passed in Britain. "Sarah's Law" was named after 8-year-old British girl Sarah Payne, murdered in 2000 by a pedophile. It is modeled on "Megan's Law," the U.S. legislation named for Megan Kanka, a New Jersey child murdered by a repeat sex offender.

The last edition's back page had 1946 quotes from British author George Orwell, an admirer of the paper.

"You put your feet up on the sofa, settle your spectacles on your nose and open the News of the World," Orwell said.

The back page also had quotes running beside Orwell's from Jeannie Hobson, a loyal reader from Lymington, England, which read as an epitaph.

"I cannot imagine Sundays without you," the 68-year-old Hobson said. "I will always remember the News of the World for the good things you have brought to light. I'm sad to say goodbye to my Sunday favorite."

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