Arts and Entertainment Countdown's Rachely Riley takes to the dance floor with partner Pasha Kovalev

The Countdown and Strictly star married her husband last August

Cannabis campaign; Competition winner

We challenged Britain's students to come up with an original contribution to the decriminalise cannabis debate. The competition, arranged jointly with the internet magazine, 'studentUK' , drew hundreds of lively responses. The winning entry, published here, was written by Tim Samuels of St Andrews University who takes the top prize of holiday flights worth pounds 600 with the German airline, Lufthansa.

Leading article: Birt: the Ian Beale of broadcasting

WITNESSING the spectacle of Rupert Murdoch and John Birt argue about the future of British broadcasting is rather like watching EastEnders' Cindy and Ian Beale argue about the custody of their children. A precious future is being torn between two utterly different figures. Like Ian Beale, John Birt can sound a little compromising. But, like Ian's chip shop in Albert Square, he also represents a sort of "establishment" at Broadcasting House in Portland Square. For the glamorous "outsider" figure with a colourful past and predatory instincts we find Rupert's qualities an almost exact fit for those of Cindy Beale. Whilst Rupert Murdoch has never, to our knowledge, tried to arrange to have John Birt assassinated, no-one should be in any doubt about the ferocity of this battle. Like the fictional Walford Family Court, then, we have to weigh their claims to the future of broadcasting very carefully. There are two important issues to be considered at the bar of public opinion. Let us sum up.

Rest in peace? Today's spooks don't have the ghost of a chance

Some take the view that spectral infestation is as serious a problem as blocked drains. They may well be right

Spice dolls dumb down girl power

Parents all over the land can relax - the official advice is don't buy your daughter a Spice Girl doll for Christmas.

Preview: Exhibition: Unexplained: the credulity of us all

The Unexplained

TV Review: Just One Chance

I had some problems with Horizon's second programme about the Antarctic. Some of these may have to do with the howling white-out in my own brain. Then again, the film did seem to buck and dip in a way that might throw off the fittest viewer.

PASSED/FAILED: Carol Vorderman

Carol Vorderman, 36, is the resident mathematician on Countdown, which was the first programme transmitted by Channel 4, and has just celebrated its 2,000th edition. She presents the technology series Hot Gadgets and is a regular presenter of National Lottery Live, both on BBC1 on Wednesdays.

Comedy and the numbers game

The week on television

Every second counts as Britain sells off the millennium

Days are numbered in rush to exploit Greenwich Mean Time

MY WEEK: CLEMENT FREUD 'Watching Casablanca after smoking had been excised, the audience thought Bogart was trying to set fire to Bergman when he lit her expunged cigarette'

It is about now that MPs with small chances of being returned to the Commons start looking to see whether there might not be jobs around Westminster more secure than endorsement by the fickle electorate.

Why are they famous?: Carol Vorderman

Main Claim: Well I never - brains-and-beauty all in one bird. Mensa member Vorderman has joined the new mid-week Lottery as the thinking gambler's Mystic Meg. She does the kind of vast sums that made you cry before double maths, then turns around with the answer and a dimply smile on Channel 4's Countdown. Only in Britain. If she'd been born a Yank, she'd be on Wheel of Fortune after a tangle with some peroxide. Or she'd be Secretary of State. As we all know, girlies aren't very good at maths, so TV's brainbox has been elevated to rogue genius status.

Television: Our Friends in the States

Moments That Made The Year: The old adage that US import equals trashy viewing was finally laid to rest, just as pseudo-science took over the schedules. By Thomas Sutcliffe

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Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor