News

The stellar explosion is the closest to be spotted since 1987 and will provide a 'galactic yardstick' for astronomers judging distances across the universe

Indoor: Backgammon

In the box playing Black was the Tempestuous Turk (TT). Minus 20 on the scoresheet and having a bad night, he finally thought his time had come when playing against The Doyen and myself. We had been doubled early and then got involved in a massive back-game. At the height of this game we had made our 1-, 2- and 3-points with an extra man on the 2-point, and our other 8 men were in or around TT's home board.

Secret papers: Castro's gift turned down by Wilson

Secret papers: Castro's gift

Records

As we prepare to practise dating things with a '98 instead of '97, it is a good time to look back on the records of the past year:

An Eye On ... fags, drink 'n' drugs

Geneva: A box of 25 Cuban "Trinidad" cigars was sold at auction to an Asian buyer for 23,000 Swiss francs (pounds 10,000). The average price of pounds 400 per cigar makes them the most expensive ever. The cigars were from a special selection normally reserved for heads of state.

Racing: Skip Away aimed at breaking Cigar's record

Skip Away, brilliant winner of Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic in California, has arrived in Florida for a rest before being aimed at the Gulfstream Park Handicap in February.

The Knack: How to smoke a cigar, by Gordon Mott

"Select the cigar and roll it between your fingers to make sure the wrapper has not become cracked or that there is some flaw. There are three ways to cut a cigar - guillotine, V-cutter and a piercer - but the best is a double-bladed guillotine. This cuts all sides of the cigar, allowing the smoke to travel the entire length. When I was learning to smoke cigars in Central America, I had a friend who was adamant that you could not light a cigar with fewer than three four-inch cedar matches. Anything less and you clearly had not lit your cigar properly! Actually, you can use anything from a cedar spill - that's a thin slice of cedar that you light with a match - to a disposable lighter. My preference is a long match, preferably cedar, and it will take more than one though I don't know about three! You hold the cigar about a half-inch to an inch from the top of the flame and roll it slowly so that the flame lights the outer edge. Once the outer ring is lit, then you can bring the cigar to the mouth and draw in lightly.

Our man with Havana

How do you smoke the finest cigars? To separate puff from bluff, John Windsor fires up in a London shop dedicated to chic cheroots

Hollywood's cigar-toting stars begin to get up people's noses

A stogie is the accessory of choice in Tinseltown. But the health puritans are on the case, reports Tim Cornwell

Update on ... ... records

A review of recent developments in an area of general interest.

Cigar to relax in seclusion to overcome infertility

new tactics to help the world's top racehorse over his problems

SMOKING Cigars can reduce cancer risk

igarette smokers who have difficulty giving up can halve their risk of dying of lung cancer or heart disease by switching to pipes or cigars.

There's no room for yesterday's men on the CBI platform

People & Business

People & Business: There's no room for yesterday's men on the CBI platform

Steven Norris: The nearest thing to a Tory at the CBI

Smoke-ban commuter's light relief

A long-running legal campaign by a commuter against a smoking ban on the London to Brighton line descended into farce yesterday, amid claims that the rail company would permit him to smoke cigars. Peter Boddington, of Brighton, and Connex South-Central said they had resolved their dispute after Mr Boddington agreed to abide by the terms of an order drawn up by their lawyers. But later in the day it transpired that they had different views on what the deal meant.

Strike a light! Cigars - and humidors - are back in fashion

Collect to invest: John Windsor on the enduring enticements of Cuba
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
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