Five-minute memoir: Carol Topolski recalls a moment of life and death

I'm in the bathroom with Clea. Cassie's chortling with her friend downstairs. My head's full of sweet, milky haziness as I sponge my 12-week-old baby, then wrap her in a towel nearly as soft as her skin. I'm 31 and all's well with my world. The front door crashes open. I hear urgent steps on the stairs. My husband's here. "Your dad's dead," he says. He's panting.

Steve Meehan developed an attacking game at Bath

French clubs rule the roost, says Steve Meehan

After a mixed time at Bath, the Australian coach opens up to Chris Hewett on why Gallic cash is king and why English sides are struggling to compete

Gas fitter guilty of fumes death

A gas fitter was convicted today of the manslaughter of a millionaire's daughter who died from carbon monoxide poisoning following the botched installation of a boiler.

Kristy Bamu was tortured and drowned in a bath on Christmas Day 2010

Couple guilty of horrific witchcraft murder

A domineering football coach and his long-term girlfriend were found guilty today of torturing a teenage family member to death because they believed he was a witch.

RORY LAMONT: The Scotland full-back has a broken leg that will keep him out for nine months

Lamont operation heightens gloomy Scotland outlook

Rory Lamont, the Scotland full-back, went under the surgeon's knife in Edinburgh yesterday after suffering a fractured fibula during the weekend's bruising Six Nations defeat by France and is most unlikely to return to action this side of the autumn internationals in November. He was not the only one hurting. A dozen players required treatment from the in-house medical staff – including brother Sean, who ended the game with an eye injury – while Andy Robinson, the head coach, needed running repairs of a different kind after another debilitating blow to the spirit.

Bryan Redpath is challenging his side to continue their good form

Quins block Redpath's route to play-offs

Gloucester coach Bryan Redpath has challenged his side to keep their push for a play-off place on track by ending their poor run against Premiership leaders Harlequins at Kingsholm today.

Midsummer Night's Dream, Lyric, Hammersmith, London 

The idiosyncratic and richly intentive Filter Company are one of my favourite theatrical outfits.

<p>1. Storysack</p>
<p>From £42, storysack.com</p>
<p>A cloth bag packed with items – book , CD, activity guide, games, props, scenery, soft toys and more – that bring a story to life.</p>

The 10 Best pre-school toys

1. Storysack

From £42, storysack.com

A cloth bag packed with items – book , CD, activity guide, games, props, scenery, soft toys and more – that bring a story to life.

Jim Hamilton and Ryan Caldwell were shown yellow cards after a massed brawl at the Rec

Aviva Premiership round-up: Shortland helps Falcons seal priceless win

Newcastle beat London Irish 19-10 at home in the Premiership yesterday, to move within six points of Wasps at the foot of the table.

Round-up: Saints make last four in LV

Yesterday's matches in the LV Cup might have gone unnoticed by anyone not concerned with bar receipts – all five games finished in time for the Calcutta Cup to be watched on big screens in the warmth of various clubhouses – but they had quite a bearing on the fortunes of some of the competing clubs. The competition, you see, offers Heineken Cup qualification for its winners and relatively rich gate receipts for its home semi-finalists.

Leading article: The next test bed for health reform

An "unholy mess" is how a joint editorial in the British Medical Journal, the Health Service Journal and the Nursing Times describes the effects of the Government's reforms of the NHS this week. It is just the latest salvo from the medical establishment in a campaign that has reached fever pitch. So fiercely are different vested interests resisting the changes, however – which are predicated on patient-centred GP commissioning of services – that campaigners may have allowed their attention to be diverted from a development that could alter health provision at least as radically as anything envisaged in the contentious Health and Social Care Bill.

Round-up: Leinster and Ulster book their quarter-final places

Leinster and Ulster yesterday joined a third Irish province, Munster, in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup. Leinster beat Montpellier 25-3 at home, before Ulster lost 19-15 away to Clermont Auvergne.

Montpellier's Mickael Demarco on the run during the Heineken Cup win over Bath

Bath run empty but Glasgow eye last eight

Montpellier 24 Bath 22: English side's loss in France is sideshow to Heineken showdown in Scotland

Harvey does not care about critics

All hail the 21st-century Socrates...

...or, rather, don't, says the novelist Samantha Harvey, in explaining to Danuta Kean why we prefer not to question our beliefs

Steve Borthwick, of Saracens, scores his side’s first try during their victory over Bath at Vicarage Road yesterday

Borthwick benefits as Bath curse their luck

Saracens 26 Bath 19

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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
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?