News

It is approaching that time of the year when you take a backward look and think to yourself: what do I know now that I didn’t know a year ago?

Paddy Delaney: Doorman at the Cavern Club during its Sixties heyday

First impressions count and during the Cavern Club's heyday in the 1960s, the first person you would see was the so-called "gentle giant", Paddy Delaney, standing in the doorway. He had come to the Cavern as its doorman in 1959 and after clearing out the rough element, he kept it trouble free during the historic Merseybeat years.

John Walsh: 'If bouncers stand in for teachers, what on earth will the children learn?'

The life of a supply teacher in the Armageddon of the classroom was never a bed of roses. Called in as a pale substitute for a respected teacher who'd gone off to have a baby, had fallen ill or been sent on some "refresher course," stand-in teachers were like koalas introduced to a bear-baiting pit.

Schools hire bouncers for classroom 'crowd control'

Teaching union in warning over use of untrained staff

Johann Hari: The nightmare of Netanyahu returns

This is the man calling for the re-occupation of Gaza to 'liquidate' its elected government

New powers for police to hack your PC

Civil liberties groups raise alarm over extension of surveillance without warrant

The Thief of Baghdad, Linbury Studio Theatre: Royal Opera House, London

Will Tuckett's latest family show is an Arabian Nights fantasy that makes a point of storytelling. We don't start with sultans and princesses, but with wartime children creeping into a bombed theatre, where a stage door keeper helps them to act out the stories. It's a mix of invention and insistent theatricality. Tuckett's characters lose momentum by going on about the magic of theatre, but along the way, they find a flying horse and a satisfying magic carpet.

Genius moments: June 2008

Rhys murder: The killer, his crew, and a wall of silence

The Killer: Sean Mercer, 18 (Life, to serve a minimum of 22 years)

£7m ticket scam threatens to sink Alhambra

Up to 800,000 fake passes handed out as entry system descends into anarchy

Is this a golden age for documentaries?

Agenda-setting, powerful and remarkably cheap to make, current affairs programmes are having an unexpected renaissance, discovers Ed Howker

Editor-At-Large: Bankrupt Blighty – no dosh, and even less style

I went to Paris last week for a friend's birthday. It's a good job I'd paid for the trip in advance. During my 48 hours outside bankrupt Britain, the pound keeled over to its lowest level since the euro was launched back in 1999. Shopping in Paris was a different experience: no massive closing-down sales on the chic boulevards of the Left Bank, and the 40 per cent discount day at Bon Marché only applied to those with a French bank account. That's how much the sniffy frogs care about wooing tourists.

Ghana votes for leader to usher in era of oil wealth

Heavy turnout expected as President stands down after two terms

Downturn forces Brown to scale back Queen's Speech

Bills axed so Government can focus on the economy

Smith defends probe into Home Office leaks

By Joe Churcher, PA

Sport on TV: I'm a celebrity... Can you teach me to be less narrow-minded?

Sometimes there really is nowhere to run. Just ask Scott Carson, trapped inside a recurring nightmare but one that the whole country can share. Next time he plays for England, he'll probably find himself running on to the pitch with no clothes on.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'