News

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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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor