Arts and Entertainment Pregnant actress Halle Berry with Olivier Martinez

The 47-year-old has given birth to a baby boy

Japan's Tornado takes US by storm

EVERY year one American sports figure captures the imagination of the public. This year is no exception - except that the new icon is a Japanese pitcher for the Dodgers baseball team in Los Angeles who speaks little English and is shy of celebrity.

Rees keeps the division bell ringing

IT HAS not been the most successful of Divisional Championships. Probably the least, in fact, with tickets hard to sell, its winners labelled as cheats, and the competition attacked throughout as being utterly outmoded. So it was ironic that last Sunday,the day after the championship was completed, the news broke that a European club superleague was in the offing. Sexy stuff - so what future the dull Divisionals?

Out of America: Couch potatoes steamed up by baseball's long-running feud

WASHINGTON - At a pinch, I suppose, you could get interested in beach volleyball, indoor bowling, women's college soccer and other prime-time fare currently being peddled by the big US sports networks.

Today's Number: .394

The baseball batting average that San Diego's Tony Gwynn has been left with after the strike curtailed the season. He was poised to become the first player since Ted Williams in 1941 to break the magic .400.

Baseball players strike out over cap on salary

BARRING miraculous intervention from on high - or, even less likely, an outbreak of sweet reason by the parties to the dispute - US major league baseball players will go on strike this week, beginning what many fear could be the longest stoppage in the history of the national pastime.

Today's number: 109,000

The minimum salary, in US dollars, for a baseball player in the major leagues. They are demanding an increase to dollars 175,000-dollars 200,000.

Today's Number: 2,000

The consecutive matches that the Baltimore Orioles baseball player, Cal Ripken, has played. The all-time record stands at 2,130, which, if he keeps going, Ripken will break next June.

FILM / Time: the acid test: . . . plus, if you can remember it, you missed it first time out. Peter Guttridge on the re-released Woodstock and the week's other new films

Twenty-four years on, Woodstock, Mike Wadleigh's Oscar-winning account of those three emblematic days of Peace, Love and Music is a triumph of form over content. Thelma Schoonmaker's editing (aided by her future boss, Wadleigh's New York Film School chum Martin Scorsese), in which she used split screen magnificently, still brings high excitement to what were on the whole pretty standard performances by second-rank bands.

Millionaire pickets in to bat

PITY the workers. All they earn, on average, is dollars 1.2m a year and now the bosses are trying to put a limit on rises. Pity the bosses, too. Exempt from America's ferocious anti- trust laws, they have no pesky rules of competition to hinder their quest for profits. With both sides in such pain, no wonder they are at each other's throats.

Almanack: Catcher in the affray

UNPLEASANT scenes in Yomiuri, Japan, where baseball players have been getting rather hot under the collar. A midweek game between the Yomiuri Giants and the Yakult Swallows was interrupted by a brawl classified by connoisseurs of the game as 'a real bench-clearer'.

Baseball: A god turned rookie faces painful passage to paradise: Is Michael Jordan heading for a fall? Richard Weekes met a man on a hard road

MICHAEL JORDAN leaves his locker at the far end of the room and pulls up a chair to trash-talk over the pre-game buffet with some of the brothers in the Chicago White Sox's spring training clubhouse in Sarasota, Florida.

Will it be a rod, a whip or a pair for Sir Thomas, MP?

TODAY we continue the serialisation of our sizzling Parliamentary novel, 'All-Night Session'] The story so far: Suzanne Smallwood runs the Westminster advisory service for MPs who are having trouble with their marriages, or indeed having trouble with other people's marriages. Today she is talking Sir Thomas Tankerton MP through his marital problems . . .

BOOK REVIEW / Getting the guys to do the ironies: The palace thief by Ethan Canin Bloomsbury pounds 15.99

ETHAN CANIN has written two previous works of fiction. His first collection of short stories, Emperor of the Air, was on the New York Times bestseller list for two months. His novel Blue River also made a big noise. ('Truly breath-taking stuff' Newsday said.) Now, he has written another collection of stories - presented, a little portentously perhaps, as a 'quartet of novellas'. They all have male protagonists and deal with what Garrison Keillor, in one of his latest outbursts of twee, has termed 'guyness'. Like The Book of Guys, from which that phrase comes, and a lot of other recent male fiction, the stories in The Palace Thief offer sympathetic anatomies of conventional masculine failings.

BOOK REVIEW / And even a populist prat must have his pratfall: The Book of Guys by Garrison Keillor: Faber, pounds 14.99

HE WAS some guy, young Gary Keillor. At 16 he stood six foot two, ate three lunches and three dinners a day, read four books a week, and walked the 12 miles home from school singing pop songs or saying 'brilliant and outrageous things' to himself. He was, says the author (who should know), 'a remarkable person'.

Obituary: Cesar Romero

Caesar Julius Romero (Cesar Romero), actor: born New York City 15 February 1907; died Santa Monica, California 1 January 1994.
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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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas