Sport Lizzy Yarnold is among the brightest hopes for Team GB in Sochi

A minimum target of three medals has been set - with as many as seven a possibility

Puett's genius has enduring impact

Greg Wood on the contribution to racing of the man who invented the starting stall

Racists, rednecks and the reform of Canada

With a poll imminent, reactionaries are out in force, writes Tim Cornwell

Only one broadcast for Referendum Party

LAW REPORT 30 April 1997

TRAVEL: Living the utopian dream

In 1901 a ship packed with Finnish settlers arrived on Canada's wind-battered Malcolm Island determined to create a harmonious outpost. Almost a century later Taras Grescoe discovers that their descendants remain true to the cause

England coach looks to youth: Hockey

Maggie Souyave has named six uncapped players - four of them teenagers - in a party announced yesterday for the Five Nations' Tournament in Vancouver starting next month. It is the first England squad since the Atlanta Olympics.

A MAN OF MANY PARTS

Before `Pride & Prejudice', Colin Firth was a moderately successful young actor, looking forward to a moderately successful career. Then every woman in the land fell for Mr Darcy. Now he's the first choice for everything from BBC adaptations of Conrad to Nick Hornby's `Fever Pitch'. But what does the man himself make of all the fuss?

`Militia' arms cache found

Police in British Columbia, Canada have seized weapons, ammunition and survival gear from what they say is a remote mountain training camp for a right-wing American militia group.

A long way from home with Bruce

The ski season in Europe is still months away, but in western Canada the countdown has begun. By Graham Leach

A rights issue? BICC might even start a trend

The recent fashion has been for companies to hand back capital to shareholders rather than ask them for more - not that investors in BICC have seen much evidence of the trend lately. It is fitting, therefore, that the cables group should be one of the first to reverse the process with yesterday's call on shareholders to stump up pounds 170m by way of a two- for-11 rights issue.

Mathew Horsman; On why John Birt is right

Bill Bryson, travel writer and former Independent staffer, once wrote, apropos of the trendy main courses on menus in even out-of-the- way provincial hotels, so often followed by bread-and-butter pudding or sherry trifle, that you can do a lot to the English, but "don't f*** with their pudding."

Gunman 'took revenge' on family

Vernon, British Columbia (Reuter) - Residents of this scenic wine country town were in shock after a man shot and killed nine people and then killed himself.

Wedding gunman kills nine

VERNON, British Columbia (AP) - An estranged husband shot dead his wife and eight of her relatives as they prepared for a family wedding on Friday, then drove to a motel and killed himself, leaving a note of apology.

Many, many happy returns

`Letter From America' celebrates its 50th birthday today. Here, Alistair Cooke, its author since 1946, looks back
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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

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

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Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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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
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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
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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
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We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
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Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

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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
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A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

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