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The two sisters sat in the airport lounge, waiting for their flight to Kerala. It was delayed. They were keen to get going. Their mother had died the day before and they were going to settle her affairs. “She had a good life. She lived to 97,” explained one of the sisters. “You know what her secret was? Coconuts.”

Schoolboy stuck in Adu Dhabi for 18 months due to fear of flying finally arrives back home - thanks to hypnotherapy

British 12-year-old finally flies home after phobia traps him in UAE

Album: Tal International, Kaani (Fat Cat Records)

It takes a couple of songs to acclimatise to the deceptively chaotic sound of this West African outfit from Niger. This has neither the reassuring lope of the desert blues nor the bright, shiny swing of Ghanaian highlife. Instead, swiftly circling guitar riffs compete with intense clattering percussion as Tal International give the impression they are tripping over each other to get to some imagined finishing pole first.

The great Gary Stevens is set to appear in the Shergar Cup at Ascot

Stevens to strike in Shergar Cup

While some purists remain reliably condescending, the Shergar Cup has earned a legitimate niche in the racing summer.

Flower power: Prince Charles, supports alternative therapies

He's at it again: Prince Charles accused of lobbying Health Secretary over homeopathy

Prince Charles has apparently been lobbying Jeremy Hunt about the controversial alternative treatment, much to the annoyance of Labour MPs

Pedang, a male Sumatran tiger, who is 14-years old and suffering from chronic ear infections, is given acupuncture treatment at the Ramat Gan Safari, an open-air zoo near Tel Aviv

Pedang gets the holistic approach - but would you give a Sumatran tiger acupuncture?

Pedang, a male Sumatran tiger, who is 14-years old and  suffering from chronic ear infections, was given acupuncture treatment at the Ramat Gan Safari, an open-air zoo near Tel Aviv.

Former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini yesterday left the London hotel where his team stayed for the FA Cup final

Manuel Pellegrini appointment: Manchester City set to cut new man’s powers after Roberto Mancini lessons

Two-week wait puts Manuel Pellegrini in strong position but his role will be strictly defined

HRT patches 'could be used to help treat prostate cancer in men'

Oestrogen offers effective alternative to current, aggressive drugs with fewer harmful side effects
January Jones: The actress who played Betty Draper in Mad Men declared that she was not 'witchcrafty' or anything but she admitted to eating her own placenta after the birth of her baby son and recommended it for all new mums

From eating placenta to rubbing coffee on your skin: how celebrities went to war against science

They feed us a constant diet of fads and fancies, from detoxifying drinks to colon cleansers. But there were signs in 2012 that some celebrities at least are beginning to realise that many of the more bizarre health crazes of the rich and famous are nothing more than junk science.

Specialists treating Neon accepted that there were side-effects to radiotherapy but said that without the treatment the youngster could die within a few months

Cancer boy Neon Roberts should have radiotherapy for brain tumour against mother's wishes, rules judge

Sally Roberts feared the treatment would cause long-term harm but doctors said her son may not survive more than a few months without it

Mankind must go green or die, says Prince Charles

Environmental damage left unchecked would be ‘suicide on a grand scale’, Prince warns

The winning contribution could be aired at the beginning of next season's finale in May 2013

Judd Apatow script for the Simpsons to air after 22 years

The  longest-running American sitcom and the director who has moulded 21st century film comedy in his own image are to team up, as it's been reported that the Simpsons will be turning a script written by Judd Apatow, director of Knocked Up, into an episode next year.

Matthew Norman on Monday: If Andy got his Serb right he'd knock them all out

At the society event of the season, what a joy to meet Andy Murray. This lover of the sweet science was ringside at Upton Park on Saturday night for David Haye's fifth-round destruction of Derek Chisora. "Hi, I'm Andy," said the modest Wimbledon finalist at the proffering of a Diary hand.

Suspected rhino poacher shot dead in South Africa

A suspected rhino poacher was shot dead in South Africa's flagship Kruger National Park today and two others were arrested after they killed a mother and her calf, police said.

John Rentoul: Lansley's Bill is safe, but he is not

The NHS shake-up is past the point of no return, and will proceed. Its author's future is less assured

Market Report: Shire under the weather as rival hits recovery trail

There was a rather pale look to Shire last night as the drugs maker weakened after one of its major rivals took a big step towards recovery. For a number of years now, Shire has been benefiting from serious supply issues suffered by Genzyne, but yesterday the biotech firm appeared to turn a corner.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?