Smoking linked to infant meningitis
Smoking when pregnant can triple the risk of a child succumbing to a major cause of meningitis, research has shown. Inhaling tobacco smoke in the home also made young children vulnerable to invasive meningococcal infection.
'Wow' says stunned X Factor winner
James Arthur was named The X Factor winner last night. The 24-year-old from Saltburn, near Middlesbrough, beat Jahmene Douglas in front of a 10,000-strong audience at Manchester Arena, with millions more watching the ITV show at home. Arthur looked stunned, saying only "wow" when asked how he felt.
Ann Summers sales enhanced by novel
Jacqueline Gold, the woman behind the lingerie chain Ann Summers, has said the success of Fifty Shades of Grey has led to sales at her chain going through the roof. She told Hello! magazine: "Not only have we sold out of handcuffs, jiggle balls and blindfolds, but it's opened up a lot of new doors on a business level." MORE
Regime troops in strategic withdrawal
Diplomats say withdrawals by government forces may have given the false impression that Assad's military position is weaker than it really is. The government claims to have made a strategic choice not to defend smaller outposts in order to concentrate on Damascus. MORE
Concession fails to satisfy opposition
A concession offered by President Mohamed Morsi, left, failed to placate opponents who accused him of plunging Egypt deeper into crisis by refusing to postpone a vote on a constitution shaped by Islamists. MORE
Parents urged to watch their drinking
Parents should drink less in front of their children if they want to prevent them becoming binge drinkers, a report suggests today. The authors of research by the think-tank Demos said it was "not enough" for parents to wait until their children were in bed before opening the bottle, because their interviews suggested "children are more aware than they are often given credit for".
BBC forecasts the hit-makers of 2013
The BBC has published its list of musicians it believes could hit the big time next year. The Sound of 2013 long list, which features a country-rock band and a Native American rapper, is compiled by industry experts. The first award – for the Sound of 2003 – went to US rapper 50 Cent. MORE
Sparkling result for home-grown bubbly
Sales figures from the UK's largest independent wine merchant, Bibendum Wine, show that 25 per cent more wine from English vineyards is being consumed in bars and restaurants than last year. For English sparkling wine the figure is even more impressive – a 55 per cent increase.
Many war refugees on Britain's streets
Thousands of people who have fled some of the world's most dangerous countries including Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are being forced into destitution, begging and prostitution on British streets because they cannot be sent back, the Home Office is warned. MORE
Will it be Monti versus Berlusconi?
Italy and the rest of Europe anxiously awaited the reaction of financial markets yesterday to Prime Minister Mario Monti's surprise decision to resign and set the stage for an early vote, as speculation abounded over whether he might dive into politics and challenge Silvio Berlusconi in the election. MORE
Teenager held over death of boy, seven
Police questioning a teenager who was allegedly at the wheel of a car which killed a young child at a caravan site have been given an extra 12 hours to hold him. A seven-year-old boy was knocked down and later died from his injuries in hospital after the accident at around 3pm yesterday.
Jazz landmark closes down
The Lenox Lounge, a historic Harlem jazz club that has hosted greats including Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and John Coltrane, will close its doors on New Year's Eve. The Lounge was founded in 1939. But owner Alvin Reed said with rents on the rise he can no longer afford the lease on the jazz landmark. MORE
Romney tops quotes of the year list
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's comments about 47 per cent of the population dependent on the government and "binders full of women" topped this year's best quotes, according to Yale University librarian Fred Shapiro's annual quotes list.