World's beautiful women deny the law of averages

BABY-FACED women are considered beautiful because of Darwinian evolution rather than the influence of Hollywood, a study by psychologists suggests.

Please adjust your mind set: It may look like the news but it's just hi-tech wizardry. These days parody is as real as TV fact

THREE bodies lie in the street, shot by police in pursuit of an IRA 'dog bomb'. 'Being old,' says the voice-over as the camera pans across the corpses, 'they would have died soon anyway.' The Sinn Fein spokesman, when questioned about the outrage, is obliged to take large gulps of helium to make his voice sound funny and 'subtract from the credibility of his statement'. Meanwhile, US reporter Barbara Wintergreen enthuses about a new disc-shaped plastic foetus that provides all the joy of pregnancy without the fuss of a baby; and, finally, there is an international ban on the hunting of waves.

REVIEW / The unnecessarily messy business of the truth

BY AN odd irony the offices of South Coast Shipping are in Canute House. South Coast Shipping was the owner and operator of the Bowbelle, the sand dredger which sank the Marchioness pleasure boat in the Thames, leaving 51 people dead, and ever since the accident it has tried to hold off a rising tide of criticism. With the Government insisting that no public inquiry is necessary, it seemed as if the company had succeeded but Dispatches' (C 4) methodical and detailed report on the incident left the water lapping at its chin.

TELEVISION / Beggars for human kindness can't be choosy

SEASONAL Affective Depression is a condition that begins to strike at about this time of year - brought on by the shorter daylight hours and the absence of sunshine. By the weekend we were all sufferers: the cloud of the Bulger trial hung so low over Thursday and Friday that you had to use a torch to get about. Whenever a ray of light appeared to be breaking through it was promptly blocked by politicians trying to capitalise on murder (as I recall, it wasn't the Archbishop of Canterbury who said 'There's no such thing as society').

TELEVISION / Winning by its head: Thomas Sutcliffe stands Measure for Measure back to back with Tales from the Map Room

ON THE face of it, Tales from the Map Room (broadcast Thursday on BBC 2) and Measure for Measure (BBC 2 last night) are virtually identical products. Both are excursions into the relatively new genre of primer television for adults (we have already had series on colour and furniture), both use elegant pans across prop-littered tables, elaborate video-effects, computer graphics and costume re-enactments to present information. But there is a difference between them, an important one for a corporation recently re-dedicated to the principle that its programmes should 'inform, educate and entertain'. The difference might be summed up as that between the phrases 'I'd like to change the way you think about maps' and 'here's a bunch of weird things I know about measurement'.

TV watchdog acts after commercial causes fits

THE Independent Television Commission is seeking advice on guidelines for advertisers who may want to use flashing lights and flickering, high-contrast backgrounds in commercials after three people suffered epileptic fits while watching one advertisement.

Special Report on Conferences and Exhibitions: Technological changes present opportunities to communicate: Computers can help, but with all the gadgets in the world the most important thing is to see and hear properly, says Steve Homer

ONCE UPON a time, if you wanted to stage a conference you found a room that was big enough, got some tables and chairs and a flip chart and that was about it. Today things have changed but with all the gadgets in the world there is one thing the experts agree on - conferences are about communication; lose sight of that and you are heading for trouble.

TELEVISION / Shot in the dark

IS THERE any being on earth more gullible than an investigative reporter with the scent of a scoop in his nostrils? The question is prompted by Secret History's (C 4) report on the assassination of Robert Kennedy, which, despite turning up some unsettling discrepancies in the official account of the killing, marred its case by its blinkered attitude to contradictory evidence.
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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

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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

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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

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Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

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Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

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