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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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The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
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Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
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Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
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How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?