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Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, was due to chair a meeting of the Government’s crisis committee Cobra in response to the bad weather and power cuts.

Whatever you do, don't mention the war. Oops!

Prince Harry joins a long list of miscreants responsible for anti-Germanic gaffes and other xenophobic clichés

Storm in a pesto jar: Italian producers at odds with scientists over cancer scare

A bitter row has broken out in Italy over the alleged toxicity of one of the nation's favourite foods: pesto. The Genovese sauce prepared for centuries in Ligurian kitchens by grinding together fresh young basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil contains a carcinogenic ingredient, a leading Italian scientist warns. And the tastier the pesto, the greater the danger.

Cricket legend D'Oliveira says he was 'set up' by England tour selectors

One of the finest all-rounders to play cricket for England, Basil D'Oliveira, has broken years of silence by saying that he was "set up" by the sport's authorities who chose not to pick him to tour his native South Africa during the years of apartheid.

Mosaic by Michael Holroyd

Bogged down in the family plot

Le Roi Malgré Lui, Grange Park Opera, Winchester

The plot? Don't even ask...

Goodbye Gilbert Harding, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford

A lawless heart

Justice and Truth: The Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven, by Patrick Victory

A reminder of the need for vigilance against injustice

Letter: Hedge funding

Sir: In the same week as the Government claims to be redirecting money to help the countryside, all arable farmers have been sent a Ministry of Agriculture booklet (Arable Area Payments Scheme, Part I) stating that farmers will be penalised if a field boundary, a hedge or ditch, is more than two metres in width.

Country & Garden: Herbs No 2 Basil

KRISHNA, SO the story goes, fell in love with a nymph, Tulasi, and kept her by turning her into a basil plant. For ever after that, only delicate basil sprigs were used to clean Hindu temples. In Greece, although the plant was respected enough to be called the king's plant (basileus means king), basil was linked to misfortune and wasn't expected to flourish unless it had been properly abused at the time of sowing. Boccaccio, noticing the crinkle-haired look of a small-leaved basil plant (ocymum minimum), cooked up the gruesome tale - famously appropriated by Keats - of Isabella and the basil bush, which gives away the secret of where her dead lover's head is buried.

Books: Sporting secrets of the stars

Basil Street Blues: A Family Story by Michael Holroyd Little, Brown pounds 17.50
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Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'