TELEVISION REVIEW / Would you buy cigarettes from this woman?

STARK news from World in Action (ITV), back for a new series last night. Margaret Thatcher, a brisk report claimed, has been found flogging cigarettes in the Far East. Could it be that, at the foot of a tragic career spiral, our former prime minister has been forced to take a job in a Hong Kong cinema? Actually, the story was rather less colourful but still disquieting if true.

BOOK REVIEW / Moving ritual of hands, match and ashtray: 'The Akhmatova Journals Vol I' - Ed. Lydia Chukovskaya: Harvill, 20 pounds

THE first volume of Lydia Chukovskaya's Akhmatova Journals is out at last in English, and is well translated by Milena Michalski and Sylva Rubashova along with 54 Akhmatova poems ('Those without which my entries would be hard to understand'). Lydia Chukovskaya chose her friend Peter Norman to do these translations of Akhmatova's poems: they are faithful and dignified.

TURNING POINT / Something happened: Kevin Jackson on a night in which theatre seemed to make sense, thanks to Beckett's Endgame

Like the awkward friendships of teenage years, the cultural enthusiasms of lost adolescence can be a bit of a ticklish matter for those heaving into middle age. Should you try to keep faith with your callow, narrow-waisted self by preserving them in the amber glow of nostalgia, droning on about the fretwork of Clapton and Hendrix as if you were still in the back row of Divinity class? Take rueful but forgiving leave of them and crank up the volume on your new Hildegard of Bingen CD? Or imitate Stalin by expunging them ruthlessly from the official version of your life?

Dustbin for a world of dirty politics: The UN has been led to disaster in Bosnia by the two-faced attitudes of Western governments, argues Jonathan Eyal

BOSNIA continues to live up to its reputation as a graveyard of Western politicians' careers: the latest controversy about the role of Yasushi Akashi, the UN Secretary- General's special envoy to the former Yugoslavia, mirrors the diplomatic scandals that accompanied both his military and civilian predecessors.

Child left in dustbin by mother

A BABY that would not stop crying was put in a plastic bag which was knotted and dumped in a dustbin by her young single mother who wanted peace and quiet, a court was told yesterday.

Theatre: How deep can deep be?: 'Endgame' is back. But what does it mean? Robert Butler conducts his own exit poll

IN THE audience tonight is the ex-England footballer and Crystal Palace manager, Steve Coppell. He arrives early and sits in the bar with a beer. A friend has warned him that this is going to be deep. 'But, I thought, how deep can deep be?' Coppell finishes his drink and heads in to BAC Studio Theatre One. On stage, sheets cover the set. A light picks up a bearded actor, in woollen vest and braces, staring into the middle of nowhere. Coppell takes one look and thinks: 'This is deep. Before it starts, it's deep.'

BOOK REVIEW / Every grimace, every garbage can: 'On the Mountain' - Thomas Bernhard, Tr Russell Stockman: Quartet, 5.95

I really thought I was losing my mind in the course of reading this book. The blurb prepares us for 'a monologue in the guise of a dialogue between a Loner and a Lover, a Fat Man and a Beggar, out to climb a mountain on a wintry night after a party . . .' Doesn't sound very interesting, but Thomas Bernhard's novels never do . . . Anyway, I kept plugging away, often becoming tangled in the dense undergrowth of the narrator's consciousness, waiting to encounter a Loner, a Lover, a Fat Man or a Beggar but, for the life of me, I couldn't find any sign of them. By the last page they still hadn't shown up, so I turned for assistance to the Afterword (so what if the cover calls it an 'Introduction'?) in which Sophie Wilkins points out how this early work of Bernhard's can be seen in the same light as the young Kafka's Description of a Struggle, in which a Loner, a Lover, a Fat Man and a Beggar . . .

Letter: Safety laws are not a luxury

YOUR front-page report 'Heseltine to scrap safety laws' (14 November) on the apparent intention to scrap a range of health and safety regulations at work is cause for the most serious concern.

Printing error gives postage stamp 'face value' of 300 pounds

A 2 pounds stamp with a printing error bought two years ago has been estimated to fetch pounds 300 at auction, writes Dalya Alberge.

Between the Lines / Beckett's dustbin drama: David Glass takes the lid off Beckett's dustbin drama

Nell: What is it my pet? (Pause) Time for love? Nagg: Were you asleep? Nell: Oh no] Nagg: Kiss me. Nell: We can't. Nagg: Try. (Their heads strain towards each other, fail to meet, fall apart again.) Nell: Why this farce, day after day? (Pause.) Nagg: I've lost me tooth. (From Samuel Beckett's Endgame)

Government advisers warn of 'nuclear dustbin' risk: Reprocessing plant to remain idle as ministers seek more time to decide its worth

A DECISION on whether British Nuclear Fuels' controversial new pounds 2.8bn thermal oxide reprocessing plant (Thorp) at Sellafield can start work is to be delayed - probably until November - for further public consultations to see whether it is really needed, the Government announced yesterday.

Jimmy Young seeks truth in 'penal dustbin': Dartmoor, damned by Judge Tumim, is showing off its reforms. Esther Oxford reports

FROM the back of the chapel it could have been a scene from a pantomime: a castle frieze with characters on it; an audience of booing, hissing heads. But a closer look showed an audience of men dressed in blue, smoking, and nudging each other. They were the burglars, the armed robbers, the rapists. On stage was Jimmy Young, the Radio 2 broadcaster. 'Live from Dartmoor prison,' he said yesterday, 'we have another two prisoners on the show with us'.

Putting the lid on Britain's swelling dustbins: Through recycling, the Government wants us to reduce our household waste by a quarter. Nicholas Schoon examines the prospects for success

THE AVERAGE British household throws slightly more than half a tonne of rubbish into its bin bags each year, but the statistics do not record any expression of guilt about the fact that at least half that weight deserves a nobler fate than the landfill tip. It could instead be turned into compost, raw material for industry or fuel for generating electricity and heat.

The Best of Times: My mates call me Picasso - no name for a dustman: Philip Rigden talks to Danny Danziger

I ENJOY it, but like any other job it gets a bit of a routine after a while. Still I wake up in the morning and say: 'OK, you know it's a good job this, really.' Then I get up on the hills and it looks gorgeous, especially in the summer.
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Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
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All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
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Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

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Self-preservation society

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