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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