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Girls Gone Wild creator Joe Francis has been jailed for 270 days and handed a three year probation for attacking a woman at his Los Angeles mansion.

The King Of Pop's final hours: How his last day unfolded

The legal battle surrounding Michael Jackson's death has reached the courts. Guy Adams sketches the key players and what we've learnt from them

Eighteen months on, the Jackson circus comes to town again

With a fanfare fit for the King of Pop, trial of singer's doctor opens in Los Angeles

Toyota to pay $10 million in runaway Lexus crash

Toyota Motor Corp. agreed to pay $10 million to the family of four people killed in a runaway Lexus crash that led to recalls of millions of the automaker's vehicles, attorneys said today.

Just an ugly lump of rock? Not quite. It happens to be worth $1bn

US court sifts six claimants' murky tales about the discovery, sale and theft of the world's biggest Emerald

Base-jumping Austrian to break sound barrier – if he can take off

In a world that has been comprehensively conquered from Pole to Pole, where younger explorers successfully scale our tallest peaks each year, and where satellites have mapped every last square kilometre of our planet, there are few truly outrageous challenges left to overcome.

French court has Google in the dock

A French court has ordered Google Inc to pay 5,000 euros (£4253) in libel damages to a man who claimed that searches for his name automatically yielded a list of harmful suggestions.

Judge halts proceedings against kidnap accused

A judge temporarily suspended criminal proceedings yesterday against the man accused of kidnapping Jaycee Dugard when she was a child and holding her prisoner for 18 years, citing worries about the defendant's mental state.

Bought for $60,000, but worth $400m – the battle for the world's biggest emerald

The curious case of an enormous emerald weighing about as much as a horse was set to be finally heard in a Los Angeles courtroom yesterday, when a judge began his efforts to try to determine precisely who owns it.

Lohan fails court drug and drink test

Hollywood star Lindsay Lohan faces the prospect of being put behind bars again after failing a court-ordered drug and alcohol screening test.

300 protesters throw rocks and eggs at LA police

Los Angeles police say 22 people have been arrested during a second night of protests over an officer's fatal shooting of a Guatemalan immigrant wielding a knife.

Paris Hilton is arrested for cocaine possession

Heiress detained on drugs charges for the third time this year

Inside story: The weird world of Mr & Mrs Phil Spector

He is the legendary music producer in prison for murder. She is the young wife protesting his innocence. Welcome to the curious world of Mr & Mrs Phil Spector

Three-strikes burglar wins early release

After 13 years behind bars for trying to break in to a church kitchen for something to eat, a man sentenced under California's three-strikes law has been ordered released.

The late Anna Nicole Smith: whodunnit?

Three years after former Playboy model's death in a hotel room, three of her closest associates are in the dock

Lindsay Lohan begins prison sentence

Actress Lindsay Lohan has begun a jail sentence for a probation offence that underlined the starlet's inability to put a 2007 drug case behind her.

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JJ Abrams' seventh Star Wars, The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of Episode VII has gone online after weeks of anticipation
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Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
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Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
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Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

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The Black Friday Vines that will destroy your faith in humanity
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The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special
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The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
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Robbie Rogers: US former Leeds United footballer, 25, announced he was gay in February 2013, shortly after he left Elland Road. Rogers 'retired' after writing on his blog: 'I'm a soccer player, I'm Christian, and I'm gay.' Has since signed with Los Angeles Galaxy.
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Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
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All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game