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Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has announced that it is dropping its planned bid to take full ownership of BSkyB.

The announcement came as the House of Commons was preparing to vote for a motion calling on Mr Murdoch to do so.

All three major party leaders had said they supported the motion, which would not be legally binding on News Corp.

It is almost unbelievable to have imagined this just a week ago though there is still hope that OFCOM the UK media regulator may rule that News Corp is not a "fit and proper" person to own a UK broadcaster which could force them to sell their existing 39% stake in the company. With nothing left in the UK but 3 unprofitable newspapers it could spell the end of Rupert Murdoch's presence in Britain.

On a related note the Labour MP who has been pursuing this issue for months raisedthe issue of 9/11 victims being hacked in the Commons at Prime Minister's Questions today.

6:54 AM PT: I think in my haste I didn't quite spell out the significance of this. Sky TV is the monopoly satellite broadcaster in Britain, even when compared to cable and other means of picking up TV it's has the market cornered. The ongoing switch off the analogue signal will only re-enforce this. We were faced with the prospect of Murdoch effectively running a state within a state controlling more of the UK media than even Silvio Berlusconi does in Italy, it was Bond movie scale of a nightmare.

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