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Poll: what was your favourite Twitter spat of 2012?

As Twitter releases a tranche of data looking at the trends and top tweets of the year, we've got an alternative list. What was your favourite spat?

Mental health academic warns of reality TV 'threat to British psyche'

Reality television’s obsession with the “emotional meltdown of losers” is damaging the British psyche – creating a society in which we revel in seeing people hacked to pieces, a leading mental health academic has warned.

George Clooney joins Barack Obama to discuss the situation in Darfur, April 2006

George Clooney, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z: how much do celebrity political endorsements matter?

The wonks over at the Daily Beast have produced a fascinating quantified rundown of how much celebrity supporters are contributing to this Presidential race, which is close to neck-a-neck as polling day approaches.

US Election Diary: TV preacher blames Sandy on gay rights

Who's to blame for Hurricane Sandy? Why, Obama and Romney, of course! So says the TV evangelist John McTernan, who calls the storm God's response to the fact that "both candidates are pro-homosexual and behind the homosexual agenda". It's difficult to know what's weirder: his understanding of meteorology, or his grasp of the Romney-Ryan social platform.

US Election Diary: TV star and electoral virgin makes voting sexy

Barack Obama called Mitt Romney a bulls****er and Joe Biden asked parents of a slain Marine when it was that their son acquired billiard balls for testicles.

Ann Romney will be speaking on Thursday

'Mitt-igator' Ann Romney on a mission to sell her husband to the masses

On paper, the most important speech of the Republican convention will be delivered by Mitt Romney on Thursday, as he accepts the party's presidential nomination. But the one that could make the most difference of all comes tonight. And it won't be delivered by a politician – at least not a professional politician.

Album: Karine Polwart, Traces (Hegri Music)

The Traces of the title are the memories and marks that bind a people to a place, whether it's the "black hills" so fatally glimpsed in "Tears For Lot's Wife", or the "minarets of industry" of the petrochemical plant at Grangemouth in "Tinsel Show".

Internet-based TV service ready for unveiling at last

YouView, the long-awaited internet-based television service which is intended to be the next generation of Freeview, will finally be launched by Lord Sugar next week.

The unfortunate spelling mistake in Mitt Romney's smartphone app

Mitt Romney hits the magic number, but his smartphone app fails crucial spelling test

Mitt Romney gratefully completed the long recalibration of his presidential campaign yesterday to focus fire exclusively on Barack Obama after primary voting in Texas on Tuesday pushed him past the magic number of 1,114 delegates he needed to clinch the Republican nomination.

Mitt Romney finally set to hit the magic number

Mitt Romney was poised to clinch the Republican presidential nomination after yesterday's Texas primary, a largely uncontested poll that will formalise the former Massachusetts Governor's status as President Barack Obama's challenger in the election in November.

General Aladeen, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, will grace our cinema screens this week in The Dictator

General alert: From Staines to Wadiya, I is da man!

North African despot General Aladeen hates the West and is just weeks away from acquiring weapons-grade plutonium. No laughing matter - unless you're a Sacha Baron Cohen fan

Terence Blacker: A guide to the 11¾ things to do before you're 50 (and I should know)

Some advice for the outdoor types at the National Trust

Jenna Talackova (right) was born male

Pageant expels sex-change finalist

Beach shots depict her as a curvaceous beauty queen. But 23-year-old Jenna Talackova was born male and that has led organisers to disqualify her as a finalist in the 61st Miss Universe Canada pageant.

James Moore: Beware, The Apprentice can be very addictive

Outlook: It might seem strange now, but business leaders sometimes used to complain about being excluded from popular culture. It was felt that bright and talented young people shunned their blandishments in favour of the professions because business was seen as, well, a bit grubby and best left in a ghetto.

Simon Kelner: A rare view of the patron saint of modern Brit art

As a founding father of modern advertising, Charles Saatchi clearly knows a thing or two about image. He understands how to influence public perception, and how to get a message across powerfully and effectively.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform