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Poignant letter is filled with words of encouragement for her 22-year-old self

Ernie Ashworth: Country singer and member of the 'Grand Ole Opry'

A long-time member of Nashville's Grand Ole Opry country music radio show, the singer Ernie Ashworth was best known for his 1963 chart-topper, "Talk Back Trembling Lips". Written by the veteran songwriter John D. Loudermilk, it spent over 30 weeks in the charts and remains one of the most enduring country hits of its era.

Pastor shot down during sermon

A pastor shot and killed during his Sunday sermon deflected the first of the gunman's four rounds with a Bible, sending a confetti-like spray of paper into the air in a horrifying scene that congregants initially thought was a skit, police said.

Butch Baldassari: Mandolin player whose work encompassed several musical genres

Avirtuoso mandolin player, Butch Baldassari effortlessly straddled musical genres.

Andrew Johnson

17th president - 1865-1869

James K Polk

11th president - 1845-1849

Stan Hey: 6-5 Against

As we are just two weeks into the new year it is a little early to describe tomorrow's Manchester United-Chelsea match as a 'six-pointer', especially as United have two games in hand. But neither side will be able to shrug off a loss in the context of a stuttering first half of the season.

Reese Witherspoon: Petite but very powerful

Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon has survived a difficult divorce but now the diminutive star is back – and the best-paid woman in Hollywood. She opens up to Lesley O'Toole

Sarah Palin's student hacker has trial delayed

The complexity of a computer crime trumped the need for a speedy trial in the case of the son of a Democratic Tennessee state lawmaker charged with breaking into the email account of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Lambchop, Union Chapel, London

Lambchop once played so quietly at London's Somerset House that you could hear the birds in the trees above them.

Obama 'plot' skinheads lacked formal plan

Two neo-Nazi skinheads accused of plotting to kill Barack Obama and dozens of black children did not appear to have had any formal assassination plan, the US Secret Service said today.

Police foil plot by white supremacists to kill Obama

A plot by far-right extremists to assassinate Barack Obama and kill and decapitate dozens of other black Americans at a school has been broken up, US officials claimed yesterday.

Charlie Walker: Honky-tonk singer of 'Pick Me Up On Your Way Down'

Charlie Walker was a honky-tonk musician and disc jockey best known for his classic recording of "Pick Me Up On Your Way Down". Written by the great Harlan Howard, the song, with its insistent shuffle rhythm, was a Top Five country hit in 1958.

Don Helms: Hank Williams' steel guitarist

A highly influential steel guitarist, Don Helms was best known for his membership of Hank Williams' band The Drifting Cowboys. His distinctive style, with its blues inflections and characteristic use of the upper octaves, featured on over a hundred of the singer's classic sides, including "Cold, Cold Heart" (1950), "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You)" (1951) and "Your Cheatin' Heart" (1952).

Gregory Mcdonald: Author of the 'Fletch' series of novels

"Any questions you have for me, write backwards and offer to your editors as think-pieces. Just ask your editors to label such fanciful essays as 'Analysis'." So announces the former newsman turned adviser, Irwin Maurice Fletcher when the press corps is gathered in Fletch and the Man Who (1983). One of the most entertaining novels about a Presidential campaign, it found Fletch caught up in as much louche behaviour – including murder – as any of those in which Gregory Mcdonald featured him. After a 1974 debut, these took their Boston author from near-destitution to worldwide sales and films with Chevy Chase – all of which made him seek sanctuary on a Tennessee farm.

Fireflies in decline as natural habitats are destroyed

Male fireflies attract females with their winking backsides, but despite this innovative mating call numbers of the tiny insects are in decline, thanks to urban sprawl, industrial pollution and artificial lights.

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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen