The feral beast: Murdoch's fine Down Under

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The Independent Online

Rupert Murdoch has already had to shell out millions over phone-hacking in the UK – now he must pay a hefty fine down under.

Rugby club Melbourne Storm, which is owned by Murdoch's News Limited, has been at the centre of a major scandal, after players were found to have been receiving secret payments to stay at the club. This contravenes Australia's strict salary cap rules, and Murdoch has been fined A$500,000. How many more fines can a magnate afford?

Two more chuck in their MoS pens

Yet more departures from the Mail on Sunday: star reporter Miles Goslett and night news editor Sian Lancaster have handed in their notice after my report last week that showbiz scribe James Tapper was off. Goslett made his name breaking the Jonathan Ross debacle, for which he won two Scoop of the Year awards, while Lancaster is a popular desk staff member, working unsociable hours for years. The latest departures will do nothing to quell rumours of disquiet at the paper.

From the Pope

Fresh from publishing a biography of Jesus, polymath Spectator writer Paul Johnson is already working on a new book. "I'm writing a biography of Socrates," the 81-year-old told me at a party given by Nicky Haslam. Johnson, who counts Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and George Bush as friends, introduced Thatcher to the Pope last year, and has presented a copy of his book to His Holiness. Perhaps he and Nicky could give a party for the Pope in September? Just blue-sky thinking.

That nice Mr Brown makes up

Gordon Brown was admirably forgiving of the press for giving him a hard time over Gillian Duffy. The next morning, on the train to Wolverhampton, he came back to the press carriage to wish a Sky News cameraman called Duncan a happy birthday, and posed for photos with him. Sadly, none of this was caught on microphone.

New Tory sport: Hitchens-baiting

David Cameron loves to tease humour-free Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens, right, by refusing to answer his questions, but on Monday he finally let him have a go. "It's time for the Peter Hitchens memorial question," he said. After Cameron had answered, Hitchens asked if he could ask another. "You can ask all the questions you like, Peter," he said, before adding, "that's the first lie of the campaign", and moving on.

Margaret Thatcher? Who's that?

We're a fan of Gawker, the US gossip site, and are flattered by its interest in British politics. But an article on satirical election posters, featuring one of David Cameron dressed up as Margaret Thatcher, rather missed the point of the joke: "This one (retired high school principal?) is a bit scary. The poster's creator, Marshall Walker from Manchester says: 'Be wary of becoming too occupied with voting someone out. You may lose sight of what you're letting in'. No kidding." Bless.