News Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and ex-wife Mariam Aziz, pictured in 1999

A former international badminton player who became a bodyguard and close friend to the ex-wife of the Sultan of Brunei abused her position to steal diamonds worth £11.6m from her “extremely wealthy” employer, a court heard yesterday.

Badminton: Home duo claim silver at Wembley

Britain's Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier had to settle for silver as their brilliant run at the World Championships ended in defeat in the final yesterday.

Badminton: Officials reject Robertson's jibe

Badminton England has defended its World Championship preparations after apparent criticism from its top player Nathan Robertson. Robertson and Jenny Wallwork suffered a disappointing first round mixed doubles defeat at Wembley on Tuesday night.

Robertson homes in on Wembley

British veteran Nathan Robertson feels it is time to make home advantage start counting as the 2012 build-up intensifies.

Winners, losers and in-betweens learn their fate in Olympic ticket lottery

When hundreds of thousands of sports fans had money debited from their accounts last month, they knew they had secured a ticket for next year's Olympic Games. But no one who had applied for more than one event could be certain which one they were going to attend.

Skirting the issue: the row smashing the world of women's badminton

Badminton's female stars have forced a climbdown over moves to "sex up" the sport, complaining that new rules requiring them to wear skirts infringe their freedom of movement.

Joules bucks high-street trend with profits leap

The fashion chain Joules has delivered soaring underlying sales over the past year to buck the downturn in the retail sector.

Hold The Back Page: 23/04/2011

It's a big weekend for...

Sectarianism

Or its prevention, containment and punishment.

Equestrianism: Collett enjoys dream debut at Badminton

Laura Collett came of age at the Badminton Horse Trials yesterday with a memorable debut performance on board Rayef.

Disaster fires up struggling school to success

Sporting values helped York High School climb the league tables. Jonathan Brown discovers how

Dylan Jones: 'As soon as I got home, I played my CD of Californian ocean sounds with the Beach Boys over the top'

Twenty years ago, almost to the very day, I was in Carmel in California, about to have dinner at Clint Eastwood's restaurant, the Hog's Breath Inn (at the time he was the town's mayor). As I walked down through the centre of town, I passed one of those generic New Age shops, selling everything from Grateful Dead posters to lava lamps. It also sold CDs of ocean sounds, California ocean sounds to boot. And as I have been in love with the idea of the California ocean from the age of about 10, I had to buy one.

Olympics role for McPherson

England have appointed former international athlete Vikki McPherson as head of Great Britain performance for the London 2012 Olympics. McPherson will take on some of the responsibilities of Ian Moss, who left his post as performance director last week.

Purls of wisdom: Scarlett Thomas on knitting, Zen koans and ships in bottles

It's not even a question of whether the universe is meaningful or meaningless," Scarlett Thomas is telling me. "It's in what way could it be meaningful, or in what way, if it was meaningful, could that be even more meaningless than normal meaninglessness?" She pauses for me to catch up, but I must have betrayed my incomprehension. "That probably didn't make any sense," she laughs. "But maybe when you listen back to your tape..."

Equestrianism: Impressive Ruder takes lead after dressage

German rider Kai Ruder, on Leprince Des Bois, both first-timers here, impressed the judges with a near foot-perfect dressage test to head the leader board at the Mitsubishi Motors Horse Trials yesterday. Their 33.8 penalties put them 5.2 pts ahead of Ruth Edge riding Two Thyme, with reigning European Champion and Olympic gold medallist Kristina Cook on Miner's Frolic just 2.7 adrift in third.

Equestrianism: Townend all set after long-haul trip

British eventer Oliver Townend is a relieved man and happy just to be in Kentucky for his assault on the Rolex Grand Slam.

Susie Rushton: Fencing for all hits the mark

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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

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Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

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Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam