Life and Style

Considerable volumes of wishful thinking and even more hot air have been expended on the 'wonderful' 2012 Burgundy vintage, currently on offer. Sparing you the hyperbole and cutting to the chase, Burgundy 2012 is a good vintage in which a handful of great wines have been made by a few exceptional growers. It is not a rising tide that raises all boats in the mould of 2005 or 2010.

Lancaster students threatened with heavy fines for 'appearing to be drunk'

Students in Lancaster could potentially have faced heavy fines if they are seen to be drunk at one of their most popular campus bars.

A Ryanair Boeing 737 aircraft

Delayed Ryanair passengers loot drinks trolley and steal cigarettes in 'barbaric' revolt

Passengers had been on plane for several hours before the 'mutiny' took place

The new JD Wetherspoon pub which has opened at the Extra Motorway Service Area at junction 2 of the M40 in Beaconsfield

JD Wetherspoon opens first motorway pub

Road safety charities say the Hope and Champion offers ‘deadly temptation’

Yes we can (fit it all in): Obama has come under fire for his fat-filled photo shoots

Barack Obama: Lighting up and chowing down on hot dogs - the President understands the political power of bad habits

The POTUS has revealed his past as a pot-user. These days, says David Usborne, Barack Obama has other vices

AB InBev to regain control of South Korea's Oriental Brewery

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s biggest brewer, is buying back the South Korean brewery it sold to private equity in 2009

Sir Bob Geldof backs Russell Brand’s call for political revolution

The musician echoed the comedian’s sentiments, warning that the current democratic system “may not be viable for much longer”

American missionary Kenneth Bae leaves after speaking to reporters.

Kenneth Bae: American jailed in North Korea asks US Government to help release him

Kenneth Bae addressed journalists at a press conference in North Korea

Thomas Hitzlsperger has thrust the issue of homosexuality in football back into the spotlight

Kevin Garside: It may pass unremarked in theatreland, but homosexuality faces intolerance and hostility throughout society, not just in football

What did ‘The Pass’ reveal about the game and its taboos? Surprisingly little

Barack Obama says marijuana is ‘no more dangerous than alcohol’ and users should not be jailed

US President adds that the substance is actually less damaging ‘in terms of its impact on the individual customer’

Hilary Clinton's revenge list is no bad idea

My tally is in my head rather than on my laptop. Not being a high-flying politician, I guess my enemies are fewer and easier to remember than hers are.

Dennis Rodman admitted to alcohol rehab centre after visiting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

Combination of alcohol and pressure to be a ‘super human political figure’ got better of former NBA star, his agent says

Serve beetroot and vodka shots with caviar or as a shot at a cocktail party

Mark Hix recipe: Beetroot and vodka shots

Serves 4-6

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard will not face any further action over allegations of sexual harassment against female activists

A close friend of mine was involved in an encounter with Lord Rennard. Now I feel I ought to speak out

The House of Lords is now pulling rank to protect this man

Comedian Russell Brand is determined to spark a

Russell Brand launches fund to raise money for drug and alcohol treatment ‘recovery communities’

The Give it Up Fund, which will be managed by Comic Relief, aims to provide financial aid to help people remain free of substance misuse

Gout is caused by a the formation of sodium urate crystals in the joints

Gout cases explode as doctors warn that the condition affects one in 40 Britons

Cases of gout in the UK have “soared” since the beginning of the 21st century, doctors have said, amid warnings that a condition traditionally labelled “the disease of kings” now afflict one in every 40 people – with the most incidences among the poor.

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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
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
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A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
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Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
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Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
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Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
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Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
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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
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick