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Sunday, 28 July, 2002, 13:09 GMT 14:09 UK
Britney defends hand gesture
Pop star Britney Spears has defended the obscene gesture she made at photographers as she arrived in Mexico for the last stop of her world tour.

Spears raised her middle finger in a universally recognised gesture as she left an airport in Toluca.

"I'm human too. I get mad like everyone else" said Spears, adding that camera crews were driving recklessly around her vehicle as it left the airport.

She added that her anger had in no way been directed at her Mexican fans.

EastEnders Tom bids farewell

EastEnders actor Colm O Maonlai, who plays fireman Tom Banks, is to leave the soap later this year.

An EastEnders spokeswoman denied reports that he had been fired.

"He was brought in to play out a specific storyline and he will be on screen until late autumn," she said.

Banks had made a "fantastic contribution" to the soap and was due to "go out with a bang", she added.

Adam Ant remanded again

Adam Ant has made a brief appearance in court on charges of assault and using an imitation firearm.

The former pop star was remanded on bail at the Old Bailey in London until a date yet to be fixed.

He appeared under his real name of Stuart Goddard, and is also accused of breaking a window of the Prince of Wales pub in Kentish Town, north London, on 12 January.

Adam Ant was one of the biggest stars of the 1980s, with hits including Stand and Deliver, Prince Charming and Ant Rap.

Trade Center families record tribute rap

Relatives of some 11 September victims have contributed to a single about the attacks by a Harlem hip-hop group, Angels with Broken Wings.

Backing vocals are provided by eight family members, who sing lyrics telling listeners to "look at the fires, look at the smoke".

They will film a video at Ground Zero with 200 extras next week.

"We don't want to turn it into a party-looking video. There'll be no dancing, but people will move to the beat," producer Terry Lewis said.

Blue plaque for former Laureate

The house where former Poet Laureate John Masefield once lived has been given a blue plaque to mark its cultural significance.

Masefield, who was Poet Laureate between 1930 until his death in 1967, lived at the Grade II listed house at 30 Maida Avenue in Little Venice, west London, from 1907 to 1912.

During that time, he wrote many of his best works, including The Tragedy of Nan, The Everlasting Mercy and The Widow in the Bye Street.

English Heritage agreed to put the plaque up after a suggestion by the Masefield Society, which promotes the work of the author, who is buried in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey.

Ackland's tribute to 'plucky' wife

The wife of Lethal Weapon star Joss Ackland has died after a battle with motor neurone disease and a life marred by tragedy.

The actor paid tribute to Rosemary Ackland's courage after "gently throwing in the towel" after becoming unable to speak, move, feed herself or see properly.

She was paralysed from the waist down after jumping 25ft from a burning house after saving her children in from a fire in 1963, before needing a life-saving operation after being knocked down by a car in Paris.

Her eldest son then died of a drug overdose, and she was found to have motor neurone disease in 2000.

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