Voices

The very worst example of wedding greed comes in the form of the wedding gift list, which is a smart name for begging

Inside Story: The 42nd edition of Midem

Midem used to be a bit of a jolly for the music business, especially for staff at the major labels. Networking, wheeling and dealing at Cannes, on the French Riviera, in January? What’s not to like?

Souffleur impresses with Challow victory

In winning the Challow Hurdle at Newbury, Souffleur has some impressive hoofprints to follow. Two seasons ago none other than Denman took the novices' Group One prize, last year it was Wichita Lineman, and before them the likes of Cornish Rebel, Bindaree, Large Action and Bonanza Boy.

Walking on sunshine: It's no surprise that when rug designer Helen Yardley and her husband moved into their light-filled north London home, they decided not to scrimp on the flooring

Our five-bedroom house in Camden, north London, was built in 1851 and we moved in around 10 years ago; our daughter was conceived two weeks after we settled in. I like the living-room because it's very high, light and peaceful, especially after being stuck on the Tube. It has some of my favourite art in it, including something by Hughie O'Donoghue, bought from Purdy Hicks on Hoxton Street - although I normally hate it when people are obsessed with buying named pieces when it's not from the heart.

Sport on TV: ITV wastes its World Cup bonanza with digital overload

It was nice to see a programme in prime time last night setting up the weekend's two titanic confrontations in Paris, writes Chris Maume from a parallel universe in which ITV takes the Rugby World Cup seriously.

Sleeping Beauty, Royal Opera House, London

The Royal Ballet is riding high again

Hard-Fi, Brixton Academy, London<br/> The Gourds, Borderline, Londn

Sons of Staines thrash it out

The Sketch: Civil service chief and a room of 'verbal ectoplasm'

Here's a suggestion for select committee chairmen. Stop asking witnesses: "Would you like to say anything by way of introduction?"

15 years of education planned for all

A £9.4bn bonanza to smarten up primary schools - to be spent over the next five years in rebuilding or refurbishing 8,900 of them - was promised by the Chancellor yesterday.

No Pain, No Gain: Received wisdom fails to predict a pubs bonanza

The stock market, as befits a long established institution, is awash with well-meaning advice, purporting to offer investment guidance. "Never average down" and "Always adopt a strict stop-loss policy" are two of the most widely quoted. Yet anyone who blissfully ignored those two overworked pieces of investor folklore would have made a killing if they had played in the shares of a company in one of the most unfashionable corners of the City.

Racing: Walsh's rodeo ride just fails on Kauto Star

Those who considered that Kauto Star, the favourite for the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival, was such a certainty in yesterday's novice chase at Exeter that he could fall over and still win were very nearly right.

Racing: Babodana fulfils a long ambition

The Lincoln Handicap may not seem an obvious must-have for a top Flat jockey, but victory yesterday on Babodana fulfilled a poignant ambition for Philip Robinson. His late father Peter had won the race as a trainer before his untimely death from a heart attack at the age of only 42, and Robinson dearly wanted to add it to his own CV. He did so in some style, sending the Mark Tompkins-trained 20-1 shot ahead from the two-furlong mark to hold on by three-quarters of a length. In a bookies' bonanza in the first major betting heat of the Flat season, Quito, at 50-1, came in second, ahead of Dark Charm (20-1) and Wing Commander (33-1).

Goldman Sachs and Warburg Dillon Reed in line for Vodafone bonanza

Goldman Sachs and Warburg Dillon Reed, the investment banks advising Vodafone, are in line for an pounds 81m win-only fee if the phone firm's hostile bid for Mannesmann succeeds in the face of strong opposition at the target's German HQ.

Outlook: Norman conquest

THERE WERE many promises of instant wealth during the South Sea bubble of the eighteenth century. Investors bought rising stocks no matter how outrageous their design, anticipating lines of idiotic speculators to form behind them eager to gobble up the stock at an even higher price. Financiers, legit and bogus alike, were able to raise money with ease for such preposterous business propositions as "for the trading in hair" and "for a wheel of perpetual motion". Then there was the all time classic of an enterprise "for carrying on an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is". It defies belief that anyone could have thought of investing in such a thing, but they did.

Aberdeen's oil bonanza is over as thousands of jobs are axed

ABERDEEN WAS warned yesterday that 10,000 oil and gas jobs could disappear in the next decade.

NTL sees interactive bonanza

THE HYPE surrounding interactive television is set to give way to a multi-billion pound industry early in the next century, the Edinburgh International Television Festival was told.
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Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada