Life and Style A ruling which banned Dutch ISPs from letting subscribers access The Pirate Bay torrent website has been lifted.

The decision was made after evidence showed the amount of torrenting by Dutch users had not gone down

BOOK REVIEW / Could be much verse: William Scammell dips into the raging torrent of new poetry

WE ALL cheered, 15 years ago, when Bloodaxe Books was born in Newcastle, fathered and mothered by the indefatigable Neil Astley, and cheered some more when the enterprise grew into one of the most energetic poetry publishers in Europe. Bigger imprints stole some of its stars, and began to look to their own faded laurels. But more doesn't always mean better. Some of its finds were frankly awful, others - Ken Smith, Brendan Kennelly, Irina Ratushinskaya, Tony Harrison's topical salvoes - were puffed up beyond their intrinsic merits. The list is now so extensive and its quality so variable (see Astley's revised and updated Poetry With An Edge, pounds 8.95, together with his Irish, American, Women, Performance and Translation categories) that it is in some danger of swamping these islands with a verse-lake to rival the Brussels butter mountain.

THEATRE / The Fringe: Families, and other animals

Such a functional family,' remarks one of its members as his whoring child-abuser of a father lies dead, his alcoholic mother pukes up behind the chaise- longue, his morphine- addict granny listens from upstairs and his younger brother refuses to sign the paper which will safeguard the family fortune.

THEATRE / Fine old mess: Paul Taylor reviews Paul Merton at the London Palladium

The revolve at the London Palladium - ah, what misty black-and-white memories light the corners of your mind (those eponymous letters swirling by with Brucie, pre- wig, stationed behind one of them, and look] Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson . . .)

Lloyd's rebuttal

Lloyd's rebels condemned yesterday an 11th-hour attempt by David Rowland, chairman of the troubled insurance market, to break the deadlock over the pounds 900m settlement plan.

Health: Our drudgery, their officialdom: Local health authorities don't make it easy for Colin Wheeler to care for his disabled daughter

If you have a mentally handicapped child and decide to keep him or her at home, you are eligible, should it be necessary, for incontinence supplies. For the 30 years we have been looking after our daughter, we have received this service. We live in a prosperous part of the commuting South-east and in April our health authority structure changed. Instead of West Surrey and North-east Hampshire Health Authority being responsible for providing our daughter's supplies, we were put under the South-west Surrey Health Authority, which now buys this service for us in the new NHS market.

Pulling strings: Nick Kimberley on Welsh National Opera's Cendrillon

The 1928 UK premiere of Massenet's Cendrillon ('Cinderella') was a puppet show. Nothing wrong with that. Much is made of music's psychologising insights, and while opera is keener on the elemental and instinctual than on the truly psychological, it still shares with puppet shows a preference for bold archetypes over the hesitancies of daily life.

DANCE / The rages of Original Sin: Judith Mackrell reviews Nigel Charnock and Angelika Oei

Nigel Charnock is a virtuoso in damage. Social paranoia, sexual obsession, masochism, sadism, hysteria - he has a way of letting these states invade his body so that he seems on the point of total self-destruction. In past performances he's thrown himself repeatedly off illegally high scenery, he's vomited torrents of agonised and hilarious verbal self-abuse. What's so gripping about these images of trauma and dysfunction is not just the physical control they involve - it's the fact that they seem for real. Charnock makes you feel that he has been in some dark and dangerous places and is desperate to drag you there too.

Science: Taking the temperature of an ailing planet: Satellites offer our best hope of measuring global warming. But some of the largest projects face unexpected criticism from scientists who argue that such grandiose efforts are flawed because of their huge expense, complex hardware and overwhelming torrent of data

OVER THE next decade, the most thorough investigation of our planet from orbit will be undertaken by an armada of spacecraft under the grand title of Mission To Planet Earth. This international space project has been overshadowed by the recent glare of publicity surrounding the future of the Freedom manned space station.

A torrent of words sweeps Bosnia away: The West is agonising again over giving the Muslims the firepower to defend themselves - while a carve-up threatens to shatter their state

THEY moulder in desk drawers and wilt in dusty files throughout the vast United Nations building in Geneva: the endless maps of Bosnia-Herzegovina, hundreds of formal speeches, dozens of draft documents bearing the signatures of the main players - Milosevic, Tudjman, Karadzic, Boban, Izetbegovic, Vance and Owen.

NHS 'whistle-blower' wins pounds 11,000 damages: Health authority pulls out of tribunal brought by former nurse

AN NHS 'whistle-blower' yesterday won a partial victory in his long-running campaign against conditions at a hospital geriatric unit as his former employers awarded him pounds 11,000 damages for unfair dismissal.

Cricket: Metson's true grit

Glamorgan. . . . 165 and 212

Cascading into a torrent of social activities: Heart Searching: Lynne Curry spends an evening with members of a 'semi-mature youth club' for the over-30s

RUDI the pianist is in a pounds 600 Versace shirt and Roger the electrical engineer is in a Harrods suit, Jaeger tie, Swiss cotton shirt (brought from Switzerland) and a pair of Van Cleef cufflinks. They can both trade designer labels but when it comes to meeting the opposite sex Rudi wins, no contest.

Golf: Torrance happy with torrent

SAM TORRANCE finished up winning the Heineken Catalan Open without hitting a ball yesterday when a combination of snow, hail, rain and thunder and lightning resulted in the final day's play being called off.

How cavemen built a wall between the sexes

IT IS a truth universally acknowledged, but just recently proved afresh by me, that the human male reverts more quickly than the female to the savage state. It does not seem to matter how thoroughly you inculcate decent living standards into men, nor how orderly an environment you create for them. Left to themselves, they become cavemen within days.

TELEVISION / Christmas TV Reviews

'Apart from 74 movies in the space of four days, it was wall-to- wall comedy, which, like wall-to- wall carpeting, was thick, hairy with age, but comforting.' Chris Peachment, Daily Telegraph
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