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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Independent Travel
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
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
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?