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?

Irving Brecher: Prolific comedy writer who scripted two films for the Marx Brothers

Known in comedy circles as the "undisputed king of all gag men, living or dead", Irving Brecher was admired by such figures as S.J. Perelman and Groucho Marx for his lightning wit. A prolific writer for radio and television, he also worked on classic screen musicals including Meet Me in St Louis, and wrote, unaided, two films for the Marx Brothers.

Yuvraj puts improving England in their place

India 292-9 England 238

Editor-At-Large: Where can we find Britain's Barack Obama?

It's hard not to feel energised by the euphoria surrounding Barack Obama's win. But what is the likelihood of anyone on this side of the Atlantic rekindling our interest in British politics? Zero, I would say. Commentators talked about the "Brown bounce" after Labour unexpectedly won a by-election in Scotland last week, but most of us remain profoundly turned off by politicians and the platitudes they spout. To be blunt, there are very few MPs and even fewer cabinet ministers who are able to connect with ordinary men and women in the way Obama does.

Security chief leaves job after workers hired without clearance

The chief executive of the body in charge of handing licences to security guards and club bouncers has lost his job after some of his employees were found to be working without proper security clearance.

Deborah Orr: The radical left's wet dream, or chaotic market logic?

It's the intellectual chaos that is the really frightening thing. Those who believe most fervently in the free market are the very people who hate most the spectacle of watching free-market favouring governments attempting to save it.

Pandora: Conspiracy theories abound over BBC's London bombings film

The BBC has found itself under siege from all sides over its decision to make a documentary about the bombings that took place in London on 7 July, 2005.

Murder inquiry opens after body of wife found at burnt-out mansion found shot

The investigation into an inferno at the home of a missing millionaire and his family officially became a murder hunt yesterday after one of the bodies found in the charred wreckage of the mansion was identified as the businessman's wife.

Convention Diary

* Assorted celebrities penetrated the Pepsi Centre for the dramas of Wednesday night including two African-American stars anxious to show their solidarity for Barack Obama, the rapper Kanye West and the actor Jamie Foxx. An invitation-only concert with West culminated with Foxx climbing on stage for a rap duet. Elsewhere in town, a luncheon for the Democratic Party featured two film stars with a long history of supporting liberal causes – Annette Bening and Susan Sarandon. And for those wondering how Ben Affleck's celebrity poker tournament turned out, it went on until 4am and he came out as the overall winner among no fewer than 100 players. Bravo Ben.

Pandora: Rushdie's former guard is being forced to apologise

Curious news from the Strand. We hear that Salman Rushdie and his former wife Elizabeth West are to be reunited at the High Court today. The pair will receive an official apology from a former bodyguard over allegations he made regarding their marriage.

Man who auctioned his life falls short of target

What's a man's life worth? More than £1m, it seemed, when bidding began for all of Ian Usher's worldly goods, plus his friends and job. But when the gavel went down in cyberspace yesterday, ending one of the world's most unusual auctions, the English expatriate's life was snapped up for a more modest £192,000.

At last: the Fall of the House of Clinton

Just as in the Edgar Allan Poe story, the great project hatched by Bill and Hillary is crumbling to dust

Howard Jacobson: The heart has its allegiances, to places as well as people. And a country is both

I think the recent suggestions about introducing oaths of fealty are fatuous, but then again I don't

For Sale: My life in Oz... including a house, job, motorbike, clothes, and, of course, a barbie!

Going, going, gone ... Six years after emigrating to Australia, a Briton is so upset by his divorce that he is putting his entire life up for auction on eBay, reveals Kathy Marks
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Prices correct as of 21 November 2014
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?