Southern Korean activist’s balloon drop into the North last week

South Korean activist makes amateur air drop into North via helium balloons

It is a strange sort of activism – falling, as it does, like the rain from heaven. But a Southern Korean activist's balloon drop into the North last week was no less effective for that. Social groups and Christian activists buddied up to try to get some hard-to-come-by essentials over the border, and into the hermetically sealed north. The only way to do it? Attach sanitary towels, toothpaste, socks and condoms to helium balloons – and wait for a fair wind. They seem to have been fairly successful, too, and Pyongyang hasn't issued its threat of last month, after a leaflet drop, to respond "mercilessly".

Invisible Ink: No 149 - Jack Finney

Not all of the writers championed here are easy reads. Some appear because they were game-changers, and don't deserve to be forgotten. I wanted to include Jack Finney because of his prose, which is simple, light and pleasurable. Finney was a generous-spirited everyman who could make you believe in the most unlikely things because he always worked to win readers over. In his short story "I Love Galesburg in the Springtime" he carefully describes the town before bringing in a phantom trolley car that puts out a fire. Galesburg protects itself by drawing upon its own past, and you believe because of the loving descriptions that foreground the situation.

Editorial: Prince Andrew has no place helping Azerbaijan

That Azerbaijan and its thoroughly nasty President, Ilham Aliyev, might epitomise the petro-economy is perhaps understandable. After all, the hydrocarbon-rich state is awash with cash, and the regime is keen to use it to further its own ends.

A visionary: Brown at her desk in 1982

Helen Gurley Brown: Bestselling author and editor of Cosmopolitan

Helen Gurley Brown was the editor of Cosmopolitan and the author of the controversial, bestselling 1962 book Sex and the Single Girl. She was later the catalyst for the hugely popular Sex and the City series written by Candace Bushnell, in which the main protagonist, Carrie Bradshaw, writes a sex column on her sexual escapades and those of her close friends, as well as musings about the relationships between men and women. Arguably their lifestyles would not have been possible without Brown’s pioneering views.

Sir Martin Sorrell carries the Olympic flame through the streets of Redbridge in London yesterday

Marketing guru Sorrell jogs on by with a smile

First came Coca-Cola's free sample bearers. Then the trotting Samsung flag distributors and the Lloyds TSB streamer wavers. And finally, with a broad smile as he bore the fiery symbol of sporting purity, came the millionaire ad man who knows the power of a brand more than any other.

A win could make Andy Murray highest-paid sportsman

If Andy Murray ends Britain's 76-year wait by becoming men's Wimbledon champion today, he will pocket £1.15m for his efforts. But experts predict that sum might be dwarfed by massive off-court earnings from sponsorship deals and product endorsements that could make him the country's highest-paid sportsman.

Danny Rogers on PR: The agencies living in fear of the Mad Men

Contrary to popular opinion, PR professionals often lack self confidence in what they do. And since PR was added to the Cannes Lions festival in 2009, they suffer a collective crisis of identity.

Sugong, By Nick Hurst

David Carradine's role as a Shaolin warrior monk in the early-Seventies American TV series Kung Fu sparked an interest in martial arts in the West, but few had the discipline to keep going.

It's bad, but this is not a recession, say businesses

Business leaders cast doubt on yesterday's gloomy GDP figures, arguing that the slump they suggested was not only at odds with their experience but also threatened Britain's fragile economic confidence.

Britain's bosses tell the ONS: it's bad, but not a recession

Corporate leaders fear GDP data will panic consumers while CBI suggests manufacturing remains robust

Advertising looks set to win from the busy summer

Hopes are rising of a significant advertising boom from a triple whammy of feelgood events with the Diamond Jubilee, Olympics and Euro 2012 football championship between June and August.

Cigarettes feature heavily in this vast, two-volume collection

Mid-Century Ads: Advertising from the Mad Men Era, ed Jimy Helmann

Cigarettes and alcohol; cars with tail fins; technological utopias and the lifestyle, clothes and accoutrements of the international jetsetter.

Warning after WPP breaks profits and revenue records

Sir Martin Sorrell's WPP, the world's biggest advertising group, yesterday smashed profits and revenue records but sounded a warning about "clouds on the horizon" next year.

Revenues at WPP hit record of £10bn

WPP, the world's biggest advertising group, yesterday smashed profits and revenue records but sounded a warning about "clouds on the horizon".

Heads Up: Mad Men

The Don is back – cue more boozing and schmoozing
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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