News The former first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

The former first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, is threatening legal action after an online petition asked her to repay nearly €410,000 (£354,000) used to fund her website while her husband was President.

Beckham highlights England's talent void

Soon David Beckham will be presented with his 100th cap that, in a pale imitation of the World Cup trophy he has never won, will be golden rather than blue. After the team's elimination from Euro 2008, English football has become so desperate they are inventing trophies to award to themselves, like those Soviet bloc nations who boycotted the 1984 Olympic s and earnestly held their own games instead, in which the international Communist brotherhood was assured of all three medals.

French dressing: France's first lady arrives in Britain

Carla Bruni, the supermodel now married to France's President, cut a surprisingly demure and understated figure yesterday when she arrived in Britain. By Carola Long

Sarkozy uses state visit to praise Britain

President Nicolas Sarkozy launched a cross-channel charm offensive today amid the pomp and politics of a full state visit.

Leading article: A partnership that could reshape the Continent

The state visit of President Nicolas Sarkozy to Britain will be marked by much ceremonial glitter. Over the next 48 hours, the president and the almost equally famous Mme Carla Bruni-Sarkozy will take tea with the Queen, ride in state carriages through the streets of Windsor and attend two official banquets.

What will Sarah Brown make of supermodel First Lady Carla?

At first sight, the French First Lady may seem to have little in common with the wife of the British Prime Minister.

Yasmina Reza on writing a play that can rival ‘ART’

Having effectively skewered Nicolas Sarkozy, the playwright Yasmina Reza returns to the West End with a bleak and brutal drama. She talks to Alice Jones

French first lady speaks out

The French first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, made her debut as a commentator on current affairs in the august columns of Le Monde yesterday.

Private detective use soars as spouses spy on partners

The number of suspicious partners hiring private investigators to set up honey traps for their spouses surged last year as a string of celebrity divorce cases shone an uncomfortable spotlight on a business that usually remains shrouded in secrecy.

Why have an affair if the mistress looks like the wife?

The New York Times is sticking to its story. John McCain is sticking to his. They say he had a romantic relationship with a lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, as he worked on his first presidential campaign eight years ago. He says "it's not true". Mrs McCain says she's "very, very disappointed". But what everyone else wonders is, why would he bother?

Bruni 'sorry' for comparing critics to anti-Semitic collaborators

The new French first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, apologised yesterday for comparing a magazine website to French collaborators who "denounced Jews" during the 1939-45 war.

John Lichfield: President Sarkozy's new philosophy for the world

Whatever his ex-wife may say about him, you have to admire Nicolas Sarkozy's energy and cheek. Not only has he found himself, in record time, a glamorous new wife-to-be. He has also invented a new political ideology which will (he says) set France, and the world, on a rational course towards the salvation of the human race.

Sarkozy married, reports claim

A French newspaper reported yesterday that President Nicolas Sarkozy might have married his new girlfriend Carla Bruni last week, but the mother of the former Italian supermodel said she was unaware of any secret nuptials.

Joan Smith: Sarkozy struts in Napoleon's clothes

France's taste for the flamboyant is being severely tested as the President shows off his trophy girlfriend Carla Bruni

Sarkozy's ex-wife fails to halt book

President Nicolas Sarkozy's ex-wife lost a legal battle yesterday to stop publication of a book in which she allegedly called him a "womanizer" and other choice epithets.

Katy Guest: Why can't people who are ill stay off work?

A couple of years ago, a cold remedy manufacturer ran a series of Tube station adverts promoting their hot lemon drink. "Question:" they ran. "What kind of person would go to work with flu? Answer: the kind of person who's after your job." It wasn't exactly aspirational advertising, but it contained just the right blend of machismo and blind paranoia to get the workforce gulping down paracetamol and hauling into the office to spread their germs. It lent a whole new layer of meaning to the term "affluenza".

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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness