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The striker refused to play for Stoke after texting manager Mark Hughes

Superbrothers: Sword and Sourcery EP - now free on Apple's App Store

Apple's App Store celebrates 5th birthday with free downloads

Store has had more than 50bn downloads as of May this year, generating $10bn in revenue.

Tim Henman: What Andy Murray must do to triumph this week

The expert view: Six keys to victory
With Will Smith in 'I Am Legend'

I Am Legend sci-fi author Richard Matheson dies aged 87

The science fiction author who wrote watershed 1954 vampire novel I Am Legend and whose work inspired several major fantasy feature films has died aged 87.

Half-cocked: Liam Neeson in the preposterous 'Taken 2'

Liam Neeson eyes $20m deal to star in Taken 3

Liam Neeson is close to agreeing a $20 million deal to star in Taken 3, according to reports.

Erik Pieters

Stoke reveal interest in Netherlands international Erik Pieters

Chairman admits club are seeking a left-back

Album review: Burt Bacharach, Anyone Who Had A Heart (Universal)

This six-disc retrospective covers most of the bases from early standards such as “Magic Moments” and “Baby It's You” through to collaborations with Costello and Cullum, sensibly relying on definitive versions by the likes of Dionne and Dusty and Aretha, with just one disc given over to Bacharach's own performances of songs such as “Alfie” and “Trains And Boats And Planes”.

Video: Disney and Pixar releases

Watch the videos below to see trailers and clips from Disney and Pixar's latest films and some recent classics.

Video: DVD and Blu-Ray releases

See below to watch the trailers for this week's DVD and Blu-Ray releases

Sam Mendes at the premiere of Skyfall

Skyfall might not be the limit as Sam Mendes rumoured to direct next Bond after all

Sam Mendes said just months ago that he was putting 007 on ice to focus on theatre. But now it seems that the Skyfall director was just being coy, as Sony Pictures and MGM have reportedly started talks for him to return and direct Daniel Craig in the next instalment of the James Bond franchise.

Padgett Powell

Paperback review: You & I, By Padgett Powell

Godot misses another appointment

Actress Isla Fisher

Isla Fisher on making it in Hollywood (and how being married to Sacha Baron Cohen DIDN'T help)

'Women should not have to adopt masculine traits in order to succeed,' says Australian actress

Tony Pulis stares to the heavens before the kick-off of Southampton v Stoke

Tony Pulis urges Stoke fans to get behind successor

Rafael Benitez and Roberto Di Matteo are among the favourites to succeed the Welshman

BBC Radio Stoke presenter Paula White who was removed from her Friday show after slurring and appearing drunk

Radio Stoke presenter Paula White pulled off-air for slurring her words and 'sounding drunk'

BBC Radio Stoke presenter Paula White was taken off-air after slurring and appearing to be drunk.

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there