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Firebrand British trade union leader Bob Crow dies

One of Britain's most powerful and militant trade union leaders, Bob Crow, who led strikes that shut down the London Tube on numerous occasions, died on Tuesday at the age of 52, his union announced. A colourful, left-wing Londoner with a dog called Castro and a passion for Millwall Football Club, Crow had been general secretary of the RMT transport union since 2002. He was constantly involved in disputes and campaigns on behalf of his 80,000 members, winning the admiration of transport workers -- and the hatred of many commuters.

Connery, Bowie take sides on Scottish independence, Murray keeps mum

By Belinda Goldsmith LONDON (Reuters) - Celebrities plunging into the debate on Scottish independence risk attracting public wrath from opposing sides in the run-up to the September 18 referendum. Some, like tennis star Andy Murray, have opted to keep quiet. James Bond actor Sir Sean Connery, a long-time Scottish nationalist, advocates breaking the 307-year tie with England, supporting separatists' arguments that oil-rich Scotland can be a prosperous, independent nation.

Britain's Prince Harry and girlfriend make it public

Britain's Prince Harry and his long-term girlfriend Cressida Bonas have finally made their romance official with two very public outings in three days after spending months trying to avoid being pictured together. Bonas joined the 29-year-old prince at a public engagement for the first time on Friday, and on Sunday the pair were pictured watching England's victory over Wales at a Six Nations rugby match at Twickenham.

Tennis: Murray "shocked" at Baltacha cancer

Andy Murray has expressed his shock over the news that newly-retired tennis star Elena Baltacha has cancer, but believes she can beat the disease. The Wimbledon champion has known Baltacha since they were young children in Scotland, and she remains very close to his mother Judy. A long-time British number one who retired in November, 30-year-old Baltacha announced on Friday that she had been diagnosed with liver cancer. "I heard about it from my mum a couple of weeks ago, she'd gone in to see her in the hospital. You're obviously shocked to hear that," Murray said.

British PM followed 'normal process' over Nepali nanny

Downing Street insisted Prime Minister David Cameron had followed "proper procedures" after it emerged Friday that his Nepali nanny had been granted British citizenship. His office said neither Cameron nor his wife Samantha had written letters in support of her application. Cameron faced questions about his use of a foreign nanny after his immigration minister deplored the effects of Britain's "wealthy metropolitan elite" benefiting from cheap migrant workers.

UK deputy PM to clash with anti-EU rival in public debates

Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Wednesday he and the head of the country's most anti-EU party had set dates for two eagerly awaited face-to-face debates ahead of the forthcoming European Parliament elections. Clegg, leader of the Europhile Liberal Democrats, will face Nigel Farage of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), which wants to pull Britain out of the European Union. They will square up on London-based LBC radio on March 26, and again on BBC television on April 2.

Le Carre defends inspiration for spy George Smiley

British author John Le Carre said Wednesday he was paying tribute to his friend and top spy John Bingham when he used him for inspiration for the character George Smiley, after accusations Bingham was hurt by the portrayal. New details have emerged recently about Bingham's glittering career at the MI5 domestic spy agency, notably in pretending to be a German agent during World War II to dupe British sympathisers of the Nazis into revealing their secrets.

Jamie Oliver's Cantonese draws giggles in Hong Kong

Hong Kong fans of British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver fell about laughing on Wednesday after he announced a new Italian restaurant for the city in Cantonese -- with a few slip-ups. Making a stab at the local Chinese dialect in a light-hearted YouTube video, he announces: "I will open an amazing Italian submarine." Attempting to repeat words read out by a Cantonese-speaker off-screen, he also promises that the restaurant will be "very slippery", before collapsing into giggles.

Matthew McConaughey wins best actor Oscar for 'Dallas Buyers Club'

Matthew McConaughey won the best actor Oscar on Sunday for his role in true-life AIDS activist drama "Dallas Buyers Club." McConaughey beat fellow nominees Christian Bale ("American Hustle"), Bruce Dern ("Nebraska"), Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Wolf of Wall Street") and Chiwetel Ejiofor ("12 Years a Slave"). His turn as a homophobe who begins smuggling experimental medicine in Texas when he learns he is HIV-positive earned him his first nomination and Oscar, after a series of star performances in an increasingly serious series of films.

Matthew McConaughey wins best actor Oscar for 'Dallas Buyers Club'

Matthew McConaughey won the best actor Oscar on Sunday for his role in true-life AIDS activist drama "Dallas Buyers Club." McConaughey beat fellow nominees Christian Bale ("American Hustle"), Bruce Dern ("Nebraska"), Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Wolf of Wall Street") and Chiwetel Ejiofor ("12 Years a Slave"). mt/sst
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