Sport Juan Mata could go through a Manchester United initiation, but hopefully it won't be anything like David Beckham's

Beckham was forced to perform a sexual act on himself while looking at a picture of former United star Clayton Blackmore whereas in comparison Mata is likely to sing a song

Derek Pain: Essenden's excellent efforts over Christmas have bowled me over

The no pain, no gain portfolio has experienced a near-crescendo of announcements with more than half of the constituents reporting in the past few weeks. Most statements related to trading but a couple involved new funds.

Old people's home recreates famous movie scenes for unforgettable calendar

Pensioners ape 'Rocky', 'Titanic', 'Bond' and more

Flying the flag: revellers at SkiOUT, part of WinterPRIDE on the Whistler slopes

Gay Ski Weeks: A ski sector that is in the pink

Anna Lawlor reports on how resorts are reaching out to a booming market

Getting the hump: camels do battle in front of tens of thousands of spectators

Do the participants of Turkey's annual Camel Wrestling Festival enjoy it as much as the audience?

On Sunday, more than 20,000 people will gather in Turkey to watch camels do battle in a spectacle that dates back thousands of years. It is, depending on your attachment to the ungainly beasts, a historic cultural institution to be celebrated – or a throwback to an era before animal-rights campaigns when it was OK to starve an animal for three months to make it cross.

Nearing the end: January is the beginning of the end for third years, but is that so bad?

They say that in relationships there come several itching points. These are moot: could be two years or five; some even say 18 months. If I’m in a relationship with university – heartbreak, check; crying, check – then we’ve reached one of these hurdles. And the cut-off is not a year or even two, it’s in weeks. Let me introduce the 12-week itch.

Lionel Messi and Antonella Roccuzzo

Romanian and Bulgarian migrants have not flocked to Britain, says EU chief

There is no evidence of any influx of Romanians and Bulgarians travelling to Britain since the lifting of restrictions on workers at the start of the year, the EU’s social affairs chief has said.

Kempton switch favours Garde La Victoire

The Tolworth Hurdle, washed out at Sandown last weekend, has been saved for Kempton today with more or less the original cast of runners, but the sharper Sunbury circuit will provide a different test for some promising novices.

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez claims 'Liverpool can qualify for Champions League'

The Uruguay international has fired the Reds into contention to finish in the top four

Luis Suarez

Experience of working with Luis Suarez 'will last a lifetime' says Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

The Uruguay international has already scored 20 goals this season

Norwich right-back Steven Whittaker tries to shoot past Fulham defender Dan Burn

Norwich City 1 Fulham 1 match report: Norwich denied by ‘Gordon Banks save’

Darren Bent had given Fulham the lead in the 40th minute only for Snodgrass to equalise on the stroke of half-time

January 1st is celebrated as a de facto birthday for thousands of Afghans who don’t know when they were born

Happy birthday to the Afghans who don’t know when they were born

During protracted wars in the 1980s and 1990s, the government didn’t have a system in place to register births

Pirelli celebrates 50 years of its calendar girls with release of lost edition shot by Helmut Newton in 1986

As a previously unpublished edition shot by Helmut Newton for 1986 is released, we reflect on the publication's glamorous history

Prisoners have been banned from receiving Christmas presents from their family and friends under new rules

Chris Grayling branded ‘a Scrooge’ for banning festive parcels for prisoners

The Ministry of Justice has been called ‘mean-spirited’ for the ban

Winter Solstice marks shortest day of the year

Thousands of people joined druids and pagans who gathered together to celebrate the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge, the shortest day and longest night of the year.

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Prices correct as of 21 November 2014
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?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran