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

New Zealand Prime Minister denies calling David Beckham 'thick'

New Zealand's prime minister has denied allegations that he called David Beckham “thick”.

The 'blue marble' shot from Apollo 17

Watch the entire history of the planet in under two minutes

Curious about the history of our planet, but quite busy today? Internet artists melodysheep have the solution. They've edited together various pieces of footage and some lovely music to create a visualisation of the entire history of our planet in under two minutes.

Bean downplays Bank QE move

Charlie Bean, the deputy governor of the Bank of England and key interest rate setter, has poured cold water on the chances of an imminent expansion of the £375bn quantitative easing programme.

The Testament of Mary, By Colm Tóibín

This fictional portrait of Jesus's mother breaks with tradition to deepen her humanity

'Scarred for life': Screaming children flee in terror as cinema accidentally shows Paranormal Activity horror film instead of cartoon comedy Madagascar 3

Children attending a cinema in Nottingham fled in terror at the weekend after bungling staff accidentally played a horror movie instead of cartoon comedy Madagascar 3.

Atonement director Joe Wright to bring Olivier-winner Chiwetel Ejiofor back to London stage

Anna Karenina director Joe Wright is to stage A Season in the Congo at the Young Vic next summer, starring acclaimed actor Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Luis Suarez has been accused yet again of diving

Luis Suarez must stop 'screaming like he has broken his leg', says Stoke winger Michael Kightly

Stoke winger Michael Kightly insists the actions of players like Liverpool's Luis Suarez are ruining the game.

Slum life on Johnson prize list

A book about life in an Indian slum and the story of George Mallory's attempt to climb Everest are among the contenders for a prestigious literary prize.

Ban on mankinis is good news for stags

Tales from the Water Cooler

Ban on mankinis is good news for stags

Tales from the Water Cooler
Jon Hamm as Don Draper in Mad Men

Jon Hamm in not-so-hot shocker.

If you're a man, and as of yet, you are not quite as hot as Jon Hamm, don't despair; there's still hope. You may grow into it. For even Jon Hamm wasn't always so hot.

'The Departed' tops poll of best film remakes

Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning film The Departed has been named the best movie remake in a poll of film fans.

Album: Nicola Benedetti The Silver Violin (Decca)

Nicola Benedetti believes that film music is the primary contemporary conduit for classical or orchestral music.

Sevigny stars in the new Miu Miu campaign

Chloë Sevigny: A suitable girl for Miu Miu

Chloë Sevigny has always followed an alternative path, making her the perfect new face of Miu Miu, says Gemma Hayward

Sword play: Kelly Macdonald provides the voice of Merida (right)

The highland hijinks of Pixar's latest

Pixar is releasing its first film with a female protagonist, says Geoffrey Macnab

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
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The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'