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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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Sony Computer Entertainment President and Group CEO Andrew House, executive in charge of Sony Network Entertainment, introduces PlayStation Now
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Day In a Page

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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?