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

Handicappers swing from yesterday's hero

Racing

Bailey swaggers as feud simmers

BREEDERS' CUP: Swinburn rides Halling in search of retribution as an American rival professes the supremacy of Cigar

Belmont ratings swell Lake's prospects

The cast list for the Breeders' Cup, the New York spectacular that will bring the Flat season to a climax at Belmont Park on Saturday week, was unveiled yesterday.

Visual Arts TILDA SWINTON Serpentine Gallery, London

"Please come and go quietly," reads the sign on the wall of the Serpentine Gallery and, for once, visitors seem to be taking notice. Their light tread, though, is not in deference to authority, but out of respect for the person whose slight form exerts such an extraordinary power over this room and forms the centrepiece of "The Maybe", one of this year's most inspired shows.

American yuppies savour the aroma of a backlash

Smoking/ the luxury cigar craze

The model for things to come?

Slowly, slowly the reasons for not paying for Sky are whittled away. Tonight (9pm, Sky One) comes another; Models Inc, the latest glossy soap from the Spelling stable. There are those of us who have worn black since Alexis plunged over the bannister in the last episode of Dynasty: there hasn't been a melodrama since to match it. Now - just maybe - the wait is over.

Track exit for Bull

America's Horse of the Year for 1994, Holy Bull, has his left front leg in a steel cast and has been retired from racing after being pulled up in a race at Gulfstream Park, Florida, on Saturday.

Paper scorns Elysee's revenge

THE French newspaper Le Monde has struck back at a confidant of President Francois Mitterrand who suggested that the newspaper's founder had been a Second World War collaborator with the Germans.

BEST-SELLERS / Top 10 handmade cigars

----------------------------------------------------------------- TOP 10 HANDMADE CIGARS ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Monte Cristo (packet of 10) . .pounds 81.50 2 H Upmann (five) . . . . . . . . .pounds 15.95 3 Romeo y Julieta (five) . . . . . pounds 32 4 Partagas (25 petit corona) . . . pounds 125 5 Ramon Allones (25 corona) . . . .pounds 147 6 Bolivar (25 petit corona) . . . .pounds 125 7 Punch (25 petit corona) . . . . .pounds 125 8 Joya de Nicaragua (25 corona) . .pounds 70 9 Honduras (25) . . . . . . . . . .pounds 89 10 Macanudo (25 petit corona) . . .pounds 25 Chart supplied by Walter Thurgood, London EC2 -----------------------------------------------------------------

Travel: White-knuckles on the big clipper: Michael Bayfield found and lost his sea legs when he sailed on the clipper Albatros from Norfolk to the Netherlands

Clinging to the side of my bunk in the pitch blackness, I felt as if I was being stood on my head one second and on my feet the next, as the ship pitched and rolled in the heavy sea. 'You should sleep lying along the length of the boat,' Martin, one of the crew, had told me shortly before I climbed down to the tiny cabin. Now, with my bunk pointing port to starboard, I realised why.

Chess: The world is now a less smelly place

THE HASTINGS Congress at the turn of the year was, despite an enforced change of venue and a lack of commercial sponsorship, generally a happy and successful event.

Obituary: Zino Davidoff

Zino Davidoff, tobacco merchant: born Kiev 11 February 1906; married (one daughter); died Geneva 14 January 1994.

Cigar king dies aged 88

Zino Davidoff, the Russian-born cigar king whose partnership with Cuba made him the leading supplier of hand- rolled Havanas, died aged 88, Reuter reports from Geneva.

Obituary: Anthony Burgess

MAY I add to Roger Lewis's obituary of Anthony Burgess (26 November) something on what enormous fun Burgess was to be with? writes Susan Hill.

Jam today, blood on your suit tomorrow

'I'M afraid,' wrote Lord McAlpine in the Spectator, 'that most Tory money is raised by the selling of jam, more often than not sold for less than it will cost the donor to make the stuff.' So we seem to be looking, given a Tory turnover of pounds 26m in 1992-93, at a Tory jam industry of at least pounds 13m.
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Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

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New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
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These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

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Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
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Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
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Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

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Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

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England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

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Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

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