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UK deputy PM and anti-EU rival trade barbs in debate

Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg locked horns with the leader of the country's most anti-EU party on Wednesday in the first of two face-to-face debates ahead of forthcoming European Parliament elections. Clegg, leader of the Europhile Liberal Democrats, argued that Britain was "better off in Europe -- richer, stronger, safer", but UK Independence Party (UKIP) head Nigel Farage countered that the European Union was no longer fit to face the challenges of the modern economy.

Royal Mail takes axe to jobs after going private

Royal Mail plans to axe 1,600 jobs under a fresh cost-cutting programme, Britain's main postal operator said on Tuesday six months after its controversial part-privatisation by the government. The company said that most of the jobs to go would be in management, with no delivery staff losing their positions. It added in a statement that it would create "300 new or enhanced roles", resulting in a net loss of 1,300 jobs. Royal Mail is shedding about 1.0 percent of its total workforce.

Jurors to weigh U.S. charges against bin Laden relative

By Bernard Vaughan NEW YORK (Reuters) - Before the smoke had cleared from the attacks of September 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden had asked a fiery Kuwaiti teacher and imam to recruit more fighters for al Qaeda, a U.S. prosecutor said in closing arguments of the man's trial on Monday. The preacher, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, then used his position as an al Qaeda spokesman to conspire to kill Americans, the U.S. government says. It says Abu Ghaith also provided and conspired to provide material support and resources to terrorists.

British comedian released in sex abuse probe

Veteran British comic Jimmy Tarbuck was released without charge Monday, nearly a year after being arrested over allegations of sexual abuse. Tarbuck, 74, is among several celebrities of yesteryear arrested by police probes set up following revelations that the late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile was a prolific sex offender. Liverpool-born Tarbuck, a former schoolmate of Beatles icon John Lennon, is best known for hosting television variety show "Sunday Night at the London Palladium" in the 1960s and several quiz programmes on the ITV network.

Singer Kate Bush announces first live shows in 35 years

LONDON (Reuters) - Kate Bush, the best-selling British singer-songwriter who rose to international fame in 1979 with her debut single, "Wuthering Heights," and has not toured since then, announced on her website on Friday that she will do 15 live shows this summer. The "Before the Dawn" show will open on August 26 at London's Eventim Apollo venue, to be followed by three more dates that month and 11 shows in September, her official website says.

Lennon's doodles, drawings and nonsense poems to be sold in New York

By Julia Fioretti LONDON (Reuters) - The largest private collection of nonsense poems, doodles and comic drawings by the Beatles singer John Lennon will be sold in New York in June, auctioneer Sotheby's said on Friday. Ranging from gibberish descriptions of Lennon's native city Liverpool, in northern England, to a drawing of a "National Health Cow" in an apparent jab at Britain's national health service, the collection reveals a lesser known side of the celebrated British singer, who was shot dead in 1980.

Wow! Kate Bush returns to the stage 35 years after only tour

British singer Kate Bush on Friday announced a surprise series of live shows in London later this year, 35 years after her one and only tour. The 55-year-old, who recently launched a new album, "50 Words For Snow", will play 15 dates at the Hammersmith Apollo in August and September. Bush had her first number one in Britain at the age of just 19 with "Wuthering Heights" in 1978, and went on tour for six weeks the following year.

Kate Bush to play London gigs, 35 years after only tour

British singer Kate Bush on Friday announced a surprise series of live shows in London later this year, 35 years after her one and only tour. The 55-year-old, who recently launched a new album, "50 Words For Snow", will play 15 dates at the Hammersmith Apollo in August and September, she announced on her website. Bush had her first number one in Britain at the age of 19 with "Wuthering Heights" in 1978, and went on tour the following year.

Next says UK recovery not yet sustainable

By James Davey LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's economic recovery is being driven by an unsustainable pick up in consumer borrowing which could be derailed by higher interest rates, according to the head of retailer Next, a prominent supporter of the prime minister's Conservative Party.

British cinematographer Oswald Morris dies aged 98

British cinematographer Oswald Morris, who won an Oscar for "Fiddler on the Roof" and worked with legendary directors including Stanley Kubric and John Huston, has died at the age of 98, former colleagues announced. The father of three passed away at his home in Dorset, southern England, on Monday, the British Society of Cinematographers said in a statement. "He had been suffering recently and was happy to move on, which he did contentedly at his home... but it is a great loss to us all," said the society, which he helped found.
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