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Web posted on:
Wednesday, April 14, 1999 5:17:19 PM EST

Today's buzz stories:

Earl Spencer

London paper pays libel damages to Princess Diana's brother

LONDON (CNN) -- London's Express newspaper has apologized and paid an undisclosed sum to Earl Spencer, brother of the late Princess Diana, over a December story that questioned his handling of money raised by a benefit concert.

Spencer had sued the Express on Sunday for libel after its December 16 story.

Spencer's attorney, Simon Ekins, says the story led readers to believe that the earl controlled funds raised at a June concert in memory of Princess Diana, and that Spencer may have used some of the money to run his country estate.

Ekins says the June 28 concert was organized by an independent company and Spencer had no control over the proceeds.

The Express has apologized and says the newspaper intended no adverse inference. It blames the incident on an editing error.

The concert reportedly raised about 200,000 pounds (US$320,000) for the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

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Pop diva Whitney Houston takes blame for marital problems

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Singer and actress Whitney Houston says she's the perpetrator of any physical abuse in her tempestuous marriage to singer Bobbie Brown.

"Contrary to belief, I do the hitting, he doesn't," Houston says in the May edition of Redbook magazine. " He has never put his hands on me. He is not a woman-beater. We are crazy for one another. I mean crazy in love, love, love, love, love. When we're fighting, it's like that's love for us. We're fighting for our love."

Brown has a history of arrests for drunken driving and battery of women other than his wife.

In 1998, Brown was sentenced to five days in jail and a year on probation for drunken driving. On Monday, a judge in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, put him back on probation for showing up drunk to do his time.

Houston in Redbook says her husband is "a party guy" who "likes to hang with his friends. He likes to dance with different people." But she says she knows he's a loyal husband because she "checked him out when he wasn't even looking."

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Rapper Coolio changes plea again on gun charge

TORRANCE, California (CNN) -- As an April 28 court hearing approaches, gangster-style rapper Coolio has withdrawn his no- contest plea to the charge of carrying a concealed handgun.

An attorney for Artis Leon Ivey Jr. -- Coolio's real name -- withdrew the no-contest plea Tuesday with no explanation. The artist originally pleaded innocent to the charge, then changed to a no-contest plea.

The charge stems from an incident in September, when a sheriff's deputy stopped Coolio in his military-style Hummer, allegedly for driving on the wrong side of a street in suburban Lawndale.

The deputy is said to have seized a nine-millimeter semi-automatic pistol.

In 1994, Coolio was convicted on a similar charge. His 1996 single "Gangsta's Paradise" won a Grammy award for best rap solo of the year.

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Titanic-sized splash on HBO

NEW YORK (CNN) -- After Saturday night's big pay-TV premiere of "Titanic" on HBO, the network's bosses were expecting the epic film to earn the highest cumulative ratings for any film shown on HBO.

"Titanic" is scheduled to be seen on HBO six more times in April. Saturday night, its maiden broadcast racked up a hefty 18.3 rating in HBO homes.

Only "Twister" beat the doomed-ship film's ratings, with an April 1997 average rating of 20.1.

Audience researchers say the 18.3 rating on HBO translated into a 5.3 rating for total TV homes, putting the pay-TV showing of "Titanic" on Saturday ahead of ABC's programming and just behind the Fox network and NBC's Saturday offerings.

Each total homes rating point represents an estimated 994,000 homes, or 1 percent of the country's TV households.

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Reuters contributed to this report.

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