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News Digest: Death of reality TV rock star Lil' Chris at 24 ruled 'not suspicious'

By Staff Reporters

Reality TV star and singer Lil' Chris has died aged 24.

The diminutive pop star, real name Chris Hardman, shot to fame in Channel 4's Rock School after Kiss frontman Gene Simmons made him the lead singer of a student band.

Once the cameras had gone, he was offered a solo deal and went on to have a top five hit with Checkin' It Out in 2006.

Allan Dodgeon, who managed Chris for a year from 2013, said he was in "complete shock". He said: "He was an outstanding talent and it was a pleasure to work with him. Our thoughts are with his friends and family."

A Suffolk Police spokeswoman said they are not treating the sudden death as suspicious.

Met cleared over killing of Duggan

Armed officers involved in the fatal shooting of a suspected gang member whose death sparked the worst riots in modern English history have been cleared of any wrongdoing by the police watchdog after a three-and-a-half year investigation.

But the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has called for urgent improvements in the accountability of police operations after it found a lack of audio or video material made it impossible to know with certainty exactly what happened when Mark Duggan died in Tottenham, north London, in August 2011.

Rioting broke out across London, Birmingham, Manchester and other cities after Mr Duggan (29) was gunned down when Metropolitan Police firearms officers brought the mini-cab in which he was travelling to a halt. Officers believed he planned to pick up a gun.

The IPCC found police intelligence justified the use of an armed surveillance operation and it had been "reasonable" to stop the car to recover the firearm and detain Mr Duggan. The watchdog also found no evidence to undermine a claim by the officer who shot Mr Duggan that he saw a firearm in his hand and his life or that of his colleagues was in imminent danger.

Corrections and clarifications: Priest affair claim

An article about an alleged sexual relationship between a Catholic priest and a parishioner contained statements critical of the Bishop of Down and Connor, Noel Treanor's handling of the issue, which were posted online, purportedly by serving priests of the diocese (News, March 24). To clarify: the statements were posted anonymously on the Thinking Catholicism blog (www.wisecatholic.blogspot.co.uk), which is hosted by former Catholic priest Pat Buckley, who is an outspoken critic of the Church. There is no independent verification that the comments were made by priests from the diocese of Down and Connor.

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UK boosts Falklands forces over Argentina tensions

Britain is to deploy two RAF Chinook transport helicopters to help bolster the defence of the Falklands amid renewed fears of a fresh Argentine invasion of the islands.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the helicopters would enable the islands' garrison to mount a "swift and decisive response" to any "emerging incidents".

In a Commons statement, Mr Fallon said a review of the islands' defences had found they were "broadly proportionate" to the current threat level.

Israel denies spying on US over Iran nuclear talks

Officials have denied reports that it spied on the United States' handling of sensitive negotiations over Iran's nuclear programme.

The new crisis threatens to deepen a widening rift between the two allies. Defence minister Moshe Yaalon said "there is no way" that Israel spied on its closest and most important ally.

The report comes at a difficult time for US-Israel relations. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has been feuding with the White House over a nuclear deal with Iran, and has come under fire for comments he made during Israel's election campaign last week.

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