A 2004 painting of MP Diane Abbott which cost £11,750, by Stuart Pearson Wright

MPs splurge £250,000 of public money on 'expensive' portraits

Tax payers' fund the ultimate MP vanity project – having specially commissioned portraits of themselves painted by the UK's leading artists

Self-proclaimed 'mother of the street', Dee Roberts, returns to Benefits Street tonight

Benefits Street and The Great Sport Relief Bake-Off: What to watch on TV tonight, Monday 13 January

Samantha Bond bakes a cake and Romanian migrants arrive in Birmingham

Labour plans to license teachers with 'classroom MoTs' that could see them sacked if they fail regular checks

Regular checks would 're-professionalise' teaching, according to shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt

National Crime Agency reins in attempts to seize tycoon Israel Perry’s assets

The new National Crime Agency is facing a major embarrassment after it abandoned most of its attempts to seize the UK and US assets of Israel Perry, the Israeli tycoon who is also suing the agency for £10m for compensation of losses allegedly caused by the lawsuit.

‘Which inventions were created by accident?’

Potato chips. In the 1800s in New York, a customer at a restaurant sent back French fries because they were too thick. The cook made thinner ones that the customer still thought were too thick. Exasperated, the chef made ones that were exceedingly thin to piss off the customer... who loved them.

DVD & Blu-Ray reviews: The Great Beauty, The Frozen Ground, Museum Hours, InRealLife, Riddick

The Great Beauty (15), Paolo Sorrentino (141mins)

In the studio: Elizabeth Ogilvie, artist

"It is my experience of the countryside that I am trying to convey to the public"

Review: 'Sonic wonderland: A Scientific Odyssey of Sound' by Trevor Cox

An aural odyssey that takes us from the echoes of a London sewer to the world’s quietest place – and beyond

Amiri Baraka: Writer

Poet, playwright and civil rights campaigner whose work made him a central figure in the Black Arts Movement

Aleksandr Naumov, 'Oil', 1927

The Golden Age of Soviet film posters

New exhibition opens in London to commemorate Soviet film artists

David Moyes shows his frustration on another difficult night for the United manager

Peter Schmeichel says Manchester United 'always recover' amid crisis under David Moyes

The Red Devils have lost their last three games in a row

Groove armada: The stunning rebirth of vinyl

Vinyl is shedding its image as a retro novelty as a new generation discovers cover art, liners and great sound

Emma Thompson arriving for the National Board of Review Awards in New York

Emma Thompson fancies playing Sherlock Holmes: Actor in favour of gender-blind casting

The actor Emma Thompson has spoken out this week in favour of gender-blind casting, admitting her particular desire to play the role of Sherlock Holmes.

Ageing former Cuban President Fidel Castro makes rare public appearance at art studio

The 87-year-old made his first public outing in nine months

Brute Force: Wild Beasts
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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen