Arts and Entertainment

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Colourful character: Camila Batmanghelidjh on her unique approach to charity work

The inspirational world of Camila Batmanghelidjh. Each Christmas, she looks after hundreds of abused, neglected or abandoned children. But that's all in a day's work for Britain's most colourful charity leader.

E Jane Dickson: We must make it our business to report abuse

Last year in Paris, I witnessed one of those accidents where time seems to slow to a horrible stop-frame scenario. A baby, bumped in its buggy down the steep stairs of the Métro, had came loose from its moorings and pitched head-first on to the tiles below. Miraculously unhurt, the child set up a cheerful crowing while his young mother, hyperventilating with shock, was set about by the (mainly female) crowd and scolded for failing to attach him securely, with a noisy consensus in favour of informing "the authorities". It wasn't an edifying sight and, reading this week's report from the first international conference on denunciation in wartime France (where it was suggested that up to one million French people denounced their compatriots to the Vichy regime), I was reminded of those vengeful, furious faces.

Camila Batmanghelidjh: When a child commits a crime, the truth is we're all responsible

Society is keen to hold children accountable for crime. In the name of justice, force and chemicals are used to achieve compliance: Prisons, Asbos and some 460,000 prescriptions of Ritalin a year, some of it for children who suffer attention disorders, but most of it for those who feel uncontained and legitimately chaotic in the face of unbearable life challenges. Criminal children are costing £280,000,000 in custody. At any given time, 3000 children are in custody. 80 per cent of them reoffend.

<i>IoS</i> letters, emails & texts, 17 August 2008

I am pleased that Pat Rattigan's daughter survived measles unscathed, but to conclude that the purpose of childhood infections is to protect against themselves is bizarre (Letters, 10 August). The WHO's figures show that, in 2006, measles was responsible worldwide for 242,000 deaths – 663 every day, 27 every hour. Those who survive are at risk of brain damage, deafness or blindness.

Camila Batmanghelidjh: Not in my name: these Batman ethics are repellent

The indifference to human suffering in the caped crusader's latest foray is more shocking than the graphic violence that has excited its early critics. For young people used to images of cruelty, the film's lack of moral context is more dangerous by far

How to tame a teenage tearaway

Want to persuade a stroppy adolescent to talk nicely, do their homework and get up in the mornings? Try calling Sarah Newton, police-officer-turned-life-coach

'I've got kids who sleep with knives under their pillows'

Another teenager dies on Britain's streets. What can we do to stop the killing? One remarkable woman may have the answer

Leading article: Prison won't halt this epidemic of stabbing

Another day, another stabbing. On Saturday, a budding actor, Robert Knox, 18, was knifed to death in Sidcup, Kent. Yesterday, a 19-year-old was in critical condition after being stabbed in East Ham, east London. Earlier this month, Jimmy Mizen, 16, was stabbed to death at Lee, in south-east London. Fatal knife crimes are losing their power to shock. As the gap between each crime closes, we have less time to absorb what happened. Faces blur. Stabbing is becoming a routine occurrence, at least in London and other cities.

Young artists open door on a living hell

The writing is on the wall. Life at home is hell. It's evil. Enter any room at the Behind Closed Doors art exhibition in south London, and enter the mind of a young child and a reflection of the world in which they live.

A safe place for sad children

The Place to Be, a network of therapists based in London schools, offers a lifeline to pupils in distress. Barbara Lantin reports
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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

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

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

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

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
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

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
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

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
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'