Sport David Beckham having his medical at Real Madrid back in 2003

With each prospective signing needing at least a five-hour examination, clubs' physios and local hospitals expect to be busy

Travel: Downhill all the way - to the A20

Determined to cut a dash on the piste, Cathy Packe practises her parallel turns on some drier slopes in Britain

LONDON MAYOR: Tories demand Dobson manager resigns

NICK RAYNSFORD, Frank Dobson's manager in the campaign for London mayor, was criticised by the Tories yesterday after he refused to relinquish his role in piloting legislation on the Greater London Authority through the House of Commons.

Health: He's my son, and I love him warts and all

I PACKED my son off to the GP this week to deal with his warts. He has half a dozen on his hands and feet, like many teenagers, and I thought it time they were zapped.

Letter: Wooing students

Sir: What your article "Class still a barrier to higher education" (report, 13 August) did not mention is the fact that schools themselves discourage students from ethnic minorities or living in the "wrong" postcode from choosing Oxbridge.

Politics: Fried onion men of St James's saved by MP

IN THE stillness of the hot summer air the stench of fried onions was overwhelming. The hot dog sellers were making the most of yesterday's fine weather to ply their trade on the tourists strolling through St James's Park.

Letter: Transport trap

Sir: As ever, Ken Livingstone makes an impressive case for his transport policies ("My blueprint to end the transport misery in London", 14 July). But, in addressing only buses and the Underground, he risks falling into precisely the same trap that he fell into in the Eighties - overlooking the huge tracts of Greater London that are not served by the Underground.

Parliament: `No time for full debate on Ulster'

TORY MPs have attacked the Government's failure to publish detailed legislation on Northern Ireland devolution in time for yesterday's Commons sitting.

Fashion: Victoria's closet

Victorian. Big look this summer. Will be dreadfully old hat by autumn so if you do want to indulge in frilly stuff don't spend too much on it (unless you are Meg Mathews - in which case please go right ahead, since you provide us all with so much sport!).

Quintain to pay pounds 139m for Chelsfield

Quintain to pay pounds 139m for Chelsfield

Property: Hot Spot Bromley, South London - Where worlds collide

Because it's there, and also because Bromley is enviably balanced between city and country, a mountain of a nine-storey office building is being converted into luxury flats by Alfred McAlpine Homes. Berkeley is converting two other brownfield sites in the Kentish suburb of London.

Letter: Palace coup

Sir: It's all very well for Pat Palmer (letter, 18 March) to be nostalgic about Crystal Palace Park in south-east London and to support its "regeneration". He/she resides in Beckenham.

Hockey: Canterbury plan to stop the rot

WITH THE Premier League play-off places looking more or less certain to be filled by Cannock, Southgate, Reading and Canterbury, the teams currently in the top four places, interest this weekend will be focused outside the top clubs, although Canterbury need to arrest the decline of recent weeks.

Letter: People's palace

Sir: John Walsh's article "A whiff of the secret state in a suburb" (15 March) is an excellent advert for the Crystal Palace Campaign's "war" against the rebuilding on the site of the old Crystal Palace, but there is another side to this story, involving the Single Regeneration Budget grant for the small parts of Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark converging at the top of the hill.

A whiff of the secret state in a suburb

LOOKING ACROSS the wide and windswept park, your eye picks out some handsome features: two plaster sphinxes flanking a long concrete staircase, a procession of neoclassical alcoves, a noble balustrade. The architecture suggests that we are approaching something unimaginably grand, like the pyramids, or a temple to the Nine Muses ...

Letter: Animal testing

Sir: L W Phillips laments the loss of the wildlife that used to live on his patch (letter, 9 March) and lays the blame on food production. But has he stopped to consider the impact of his own patch? We are told he lives on the outskirts of Bromley, where Kent meets the suburbs of London. How do the outskirts of Bromley compare habitat-wise with what was there before?
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Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'