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Rémy Martin Sales up 10% despite le credit crunch

Sales of Rémy Martin's luxury cognacs are up 10 per cent over last year, despite le credit-crunch, according to Stephen Carroll, global market director for the family-owned cognac house. In the year to March, Rémy Martin recorded a turnover of €818m (£738), holding on to its ranking as the second-biggest cognac brand in the world.

Album: Ron Sexsmith, Exit Strategy of the Soul (Kensaltown)

Ron Sexsmith is usually damned with faint praise as a songwriter's songwriter, loved by students of the form but largely ignored.

Album: Ian Siegal, Meat & Potatoes (Nugene)

Ian Siegal's live shows confirm him as the leading bluesman in Britain. Their sweaty catharsis is hinted at here.

Diary of a Primary School Mum: 'Reading? It's my daughter's top pastime'

Claire has a new party trick. Take any bog-standard four-letter word (and the occasional fiver) and she can spell it. If there were a Reception Spelling Bee competition she'd be a serious contender. My best friend who's a primary school teacher has come round to help polish off leftover mince pies. I brag about my daughter's progress.

Paperback: A Hedonist in the Cellar, by Jay McInerney

Bloomsbury £8.99

Chocolate and chestnut truffles

Makes about 30-35 truffles

Album: Timbaland & Magoo

Under Construction Part II, Blackground / Unique

Obstinate Nixon keeps Kent at bay

Kent 245 and 411 Leicestershire 270 and 255-6 Match drawn

Racing: Williamson gets Cross

NORMAN WILLIAMSON rides Nicholls Cross for Edward O'Grady in the First National Gold Cup Handicap Chase over two miles three-and-a-half furlongs at Ascot on Saturday.

Racing: Equiname in Murphy's

CALL EQUINAME, the Queen Mother Champion Chase winner, will carry top weight in the Murphy's Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham a week on Saturday.

Canoeing In France: Messing about on the Charente

Wynn Wheldon revisits the lazy, hazy charms of his favourite part of south-west France with four good friends and three sturdy canoes

The knack: Surviving on tour

"Get the biggest bus you can: some bands get sent on tour in Transit vans. Boredom is a big problem, so don't even think about going on the road without a PlayStation and a bar: we would've split up within a week without them. Your voice wears down, so every now and again don't talk to anyone for a day and drink whisky with honey. Your tour manager might say, `Don't drink or you'll go crazy' - but ignore this; getting pissed every night alleviates the pressure of being cooped up with a bunch of madheads and keeps you sane. Just don't do it too much before you go on stage or you'll play badly.

Racing: Reveley Free-for-all

MARY REVELEY's runners continued in brilliant form yesterday. A Catterick double with Jessica One and Free took her score to seven winners in three days.
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003