Joan Smith: Everyone, it seems, has a theory about Madeleine

Fifteen months after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann from her parents' holiday apartment in Portugal, the mystery of her whereabouts is as compelling as ever. At least two new theories have emerged this week, one involving a paedophile ring in Belgium and the other a possible sighting in Amsterdam.

Album: Counting Crows, Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings (Geffen)

It probably sounded good on paper, but Counting Crows' vinyl-vintage idea of splitting this album into separate sides – reflecting, respectively, the hurly-burly of a night of drunken self-obliteration, and the next day's hungover ruminations – has rather rebounded on them here.

24-Hour Room Service: Grand Hotel Amrâth, Amsterdam

The Scheepvaarthuis – The Shipping House – stands on the spot where vessels departed for the East Indies in Amsterdam's Golden Age. Dating from 1916, this fascinating and beautiful building was created to provide showpiece office space for the city's leading shipping companies, and is one of the finest examples of the Amsterdam School of architecture and design (the Dutch version of Art Nouveau).

Red hot and Dutch: The designers who are moving into former brothels in Amsterdam

In the heart of Amsterdam's red-light area, prostitutes have been kicked out to make way for a controversial new scheme promoting the city's young fashion talent

Anne Frank Fund tries to stop musical based on her life

Legal action is now possible against Spanish producers of show, less than a month ahead of its premiere

Bruce Anderson: Leader's speeches are important, but they only lay the foundations for future policies

Considered purely as rhetoric, it was not as fine a speech as Tony Blair's. In the hall there were fewer tears. When Mr Blair started off, he was facing a partially hostile audience. By the time he had finished, the hostility was gone - for about 15 minutes.

Leading article: Class struggle

O tempora, o mores! What is the British aristocracy coming to? For decades the publisher, Debrett's, has made guides for the well-born that dispense advice on important topics, such as how to address obscure members of the peerage and the correct way to eat soup. Its Etiquette and Modern Manners has been a rock of civility set in an uncivilised sea.

Why childcare is no longer a female-only domain

Professional childcare has traditionally been viewed as a job for women, yet an increasing number of men are now interested in carving out a career in nursery schools, playgroups and after-school clubs.

Five Best: School House Hotels

Rhiannon Batten discovers relaxation is king where the three Rs once ruled

News: Rembrandt remembered

The best deals, the latest hot spots and what's new in travel

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Vlad Lit: don't flirt with it, just sink your teeth right in
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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
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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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
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
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'