News Hundreds of schools were closed today, because of a teacher strike

Workers strike over increases to pension contributions and cuts to the size of payouts

Overturn and Ahern run rings round rivals

As though provoked by the sudden, impudent opposition of the Punchestown Festival, this place pulled out all the stops yesterday. The Roodee spread out lazily beneath the sunshine, its gorgeous crush of humanity cooled by a breeze curling between the river and Chester's city wall. Out on the track, meanwhile, a filly from Ireland volunteered herself as a highly plausible Classic winner, and a trainer from just down the road achieved genuine distinction even in the oldest racecourse annals in the land. These, compounding all the benedictions since 1539, made it hard to imagine that anyone might rather be anywhere else on the Turf.

Kempes to spoil Punchestown party for Kauto

Big Zeb turns the tables on Sizing Europe to claim honours on first day of Irish jumps Festival

Titchmarsh named and shamed as peat compost row cuts up rough

A survey of some of Britain's leading gardening experts, including the former Gardeners' World presenter Alan Titchmarsh, shows less than half use peat-free compost.

A tale of two city marathons

One week and two of the world’s biggest city marathons – training for the challenge was about to step up a gear.

Dominic Lawson: Are you worried about memory loss? Join the club

With the whole world of knowledge so readily available at the click of a mouse, we decreasingly need to make the effort to remember

Trendy tea parties with Ella Doran

How Ella Doran’s 93-year-old Granny inspired Habitat’s new collection, says Annie Deakin

Ten...Easter days out

1 Edinburgh: Witness a world-record attempt at making the longest glow-in-the-dark necklace, one of the events at the Edinburgh International Science Festival (sciencefestival.co.uk) until 22 April.

McGillvary helps Giants climb to top of tree

Huddersfield 29 Warrington 10

Dureau pounces to pull off shock Dragons win

Warrington 20 Catalans Dragons 22

Betts keeps Widnes's feet on ground after Super League party

There will be a mood of celebration at Widnes tomorrow afternoon, but the York City Knights will be the first of a series of guests bent upon spoiling the party.

Widnes win ticket to the promised land and pledge to back local youth

At Widnes railway station, there is a plaque that reveals the unlikely nugget that it was there that Paul Simon wrote his ode to exile and estrangement, "Homeward Bound". That is where Widnes feel they will be next season – home.

Widnes lead the way in race to reach Super League

Denis Betts' side look poised to get new licence but Barrow and Halifax have not given up hope. All will be decided today.

Watkins' four tries for Leeds break Warrington hearts

On a weekend of multiple try-scoring in Super League, Leeds' Kallum Watkins broke Wildcat hearts with four in the second half at Wakefield. Trinity led at half-time through Greg Johnson's try, but Watkins, in an unfamiliar right-wing role because of injuries, ripped them to shreds after the break for a 28-6 win.

Myler has the last say in Wolves' triumph

Wigan 6 Warrington 24
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game