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President Barack Obama leads nation in moment of silence, as commemoration ceremonies take place in New York, the Pentagon and the Flight 93 memorial in Pennsylvania

Minor British Institutions: Half Man Half Biscuit

Half Man Half Biscuit, or HMHB, are a band from Birkenhead that constituted a sort of dessert for the strong meat served-up during the punk era. Formed in around 1984, they seem to be still going, and there has never been a finer group of musical, social and political satirists (unless you count the Barron Knights).

Album: Don McLean, Addicted to Black (Proper)

Don McLean's reputation has rested largely on a few early songs – the endlessly recycled "American Pie", "Vincent", and the much-covered crooner's favourite "And I Love Her So" – which, a glance at his back catalogue confirms, is more than enough to support a long and prolific career.

Guitar heroes can
really learn to rock

All those hours spent perfecting your technique in ‘Rock Band’ and ‘Guitar Hero’ don’t, I’m afraid, add up to any real finger-picking skills.

Album: Various Artists, Glee: The Music, Volume 1 (Columbia)

As apparently the only person in the western hemisphere not to have seen an episode of Glee, it's hardly surprising I found myself neither angered nor elated by the karaoke-pop repossessions of rock history that comprise this soundtrack album.

Dale Hawkins: Singer, songwriter and guitarist best known for his seminal Fifties hit 'Susie-Q'

As with "Bo Diddley", "What'd I Say" and "Johnny B. Goode", Dale Hawkins' 1957 record, "Susie-Q" contained an explosive riff which became one of the cornerstones of the new rock'n'roll music. It is still familiar, and it could be argued that John Fogerty wrote several variations for Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Album: Thao, Know Better, Learn Faster (Kill Rock Stars)

We Brave Bee Stings and All, Thao Nguyen's 2008 album with her band the Get Down Stay Down, was that year's best-selling record on the Kill Rock Stars label and something of a breakthrough.

Album: Thao with The Get Down Stay Down, Know Better Learn Faster (Kill Rock Stars)

Thao Nguyen acquired many approving notices and fans with 2008's We Brave Bee Stings And All, and, while this follow-up has its moments of undeniable charm, there comes a point when her plaintive anti-folk deadpan slips over from appealingly quirky into irritatingly affected.

Album: Neil Diamond, A Cherry Cherry Christmas (Sony)

In the sleeve notes, Neil Diamond pre-empts any feelings of incongruity at the prospect of a Jewish guy singing Christmas songs by stating that this is a magical time of year regardless of one's religion.

Album: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Live Anthology (Universal)

Four discs, 48 songs, 27 years… If ever a rock band deserved the heritage treatment then this one does.

Album: Neil Diamond, A Cherry Cherry Christmas (Columbia)

The bulk of these 14 tracks were originally released on previous Neil Diamond Christmas albums from 1992 and 1994 – neither of which, one imagines, bore such a cringingly terrible titular pun.

Stephen Foley: The real work there is still to do on US jobs

When the US last emerged from recession, after the dot.com bust, the Bush administration presided over what became known as the "jobless recovery". If they get it right, a new generation of leaders might just spark a jobs-led recovery.

Leading article: A golden bridge

The good folk of Cumbria may be mourning the loss of their bridges as they take hour-long detours to cross the rivers, but down in Oxfordshire they know how to make money out of need. The Swinford toll bridge, which crosses the Thames near Eynsham, has just fetched a total of more than £1m at auction.

Album: Paul Curreri, California (Hi-Ya / Tin Angel)

Curreri accounts for a lot of the musical weight behind Devon Sproule.

The best gift bar none? Beer vouchers

People unsure about what gifts to buy for friends and relatives have long relied on woefully unoriginal presents such as book tokens and high street store vouchers. Now, they will be able to provide their loved ones with something they might really want – Pub Vouchers.

Larry Knechtel: Pianist who played with two Elvises, Simon and Garfunkel, Phil Spector and the Doors

In 1969, Paul Simon wanted to give his new composition, "Bridge Over Troubled Water", some of the feel of a gospel song. He asked the Los Angeles pianist Larry Knechtel to work on the first verse with the vocalist Art Garfunkel. After four days, he was impressed with the result and the way Knechtel had interpreted his composition. It prompted him to write a third verse, although he subsequently felt that the lyrics were not as strong as the first two. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" became an international best-seller, topping the charts in both Britain and America. Knechtel was invited on tour, and Simon has described how he sat at the side while Garfunkel and Knechtel performed his song. It irked Simon, who admitted, "It's not a very generous thing to think, but I resented it." Knechtel shared a Grammy with Simon and Garfunkel, and the musicians Jimmie Haskell and Ernie Freeman, for the Best Arrangement of the Year.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
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Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
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Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
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The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game