Britain opens inquest into deaths

London -- Britain opens its first inquest into the deaths of Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed today, more than six years after they were killed in a Paris car crash.

Royal coroner Michael Burgess is conducting the inquiries, required by law when Britons die abroad of other than natural causes.

He plans to hold two brief hearings today, devoted to discussing the purpose of his investigations, how he plans to run them and the type of evidence he expects to gather.

Fayed's father, Egyptian-born billionaire Mohammed al Fayed, has called for a full public inquiry, saying a coroner's inquest is too narrow.

Al Fayed champions one of the most popular conspiracy theories among those debated in thousands of Internet sites dedicated to questions surrounding the crash. It alleges the pair were killed by the British Secret Service because Fayed was a Muslim.

Steve Irwin answers biting critics about own dangling-baby incident

Crocodile hunter Steve Irwin snapped back at critics who have accused him of endangering his 1-month-old son's life by holding him while hand-feeding a crocodile, saying Monday that he would even do it again.

"What I would do differently is I would make sure there were no cameras around," Irwin told Sydney television program "A Current Affair."

Child welfare advocates have said Irwin endangered his son, Robert, in the feeding display Friday, drawing comparisons with pop star Michael Jackson, who dangled his infant from a hotel balcony in Berlin in November 2002.

Police said Sunday that Irwin would not be charged with violating any laws.

Seinfeld back on the tube

New York -- Jerry Seinfeld will do a "pop-in" on his old friend, Larry David, this season on "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

"But don't blink," David told Newsweek magazine for its Jan. 12 issue.

He said the comedian, with whom he created "Seinfeld," showed up on the set during an episode set in Manhattan and makes a brief cameo. David would not elaborate further.

The fourth season of the HBO comedy, which began Sunday night, stars David as himself: a cranky comedy writer.

Kinks singer Ray Davies shot in pursuit of purse thief

Singer-songwriter Ray Davies of the Kinks was shot in the leg while chasing thieves who snatched a purse from a woman he was with in New Orleans, The Associated Press reports. He was not seriously injured.

Police said Davies, 59, and the woman were walking along the Quarter's Burgundy Street around 8:30 p.m. Sunday when the theft and shooting happened.

Davies was treated at a hospital and released, police said. One suspect was captured within hours of the shooting, and another was being sought.

The Kinks, part of the 1960s British invasion, had a string of hits including "You Really Got Me," "Sunny Afternoon," "All Day and All of the Night" and "Lola."


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