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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Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine