Sport Kevin Durant takes a shot during a practice session in Manchester

“I’ve been second all my life. I’m tired of being second. I am done with it”

Leading article: Honest failure

Lord Pearson of Rannoch may not have made a great impression during his nine months as leader of the UK Independence Party, but he deserves to make more of a splash with his resignation statement. He had learnt, he said, that he was "not much good at party politics, which I do not enjoy". He would step down at the party's conference next month, to devote more time to his other interests.

Lib Dems gear up for their biggest ever conference

The Liberal Democrats are preparing for the biggest conference in their history following their decision to form a coalition with the Conservatives.

Beckham nears return to training

David Beckham could be back in training by the end of August, his LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said yesterday.

Full face swap patient braves cameras

The world's first full face transplant patient made his public debut before cameras today.

Diamond impasse over Zimbabwe

A diamond oversight body has failed to decide about whether to allow trade with Zimbabwe at a deadlocked conference in Israel. The Kimberley Process group monitors the trade, banning the purchase of diamonds from nations where the proceeds could be used to buy weapons and finance insurrections – so-called "blood diamonds".

Doctors' errors may allow rapists to go free

Rapists and child sex abusers are escaping justice because doctors who examine their victims are making too many errors, a senior member of the British Medical Association is reported as saying.

Semenya news conference cancelled

South Africa's sports ministry have cancelled a press conference at short notice to announce a decision on women's world 800 metres champion Caster Semenya's possible return to competition.

Victory for mother as inquest quashed

A mother who has fought a seven-year campaign to discover why her Jewish son died after attending a conference of far-right extremists in Germany has won the right to have a second inquest into his death.

Love the Sinner, NT Cottesloe, London<br/>Salome, Curve, Leicester<br/>A Thousand Stars Explode in the Sky, Lyric Hammersmith, London

Liberals and conservatives of the Church negotiate their way through a curate's egg of a story

New Zealand's premier offends Maori tribe by cracking cannibal joke

The Prime Minister of New Zealand apologised yesterday for joking that he would have been part of the meal had he attended a dinner with a Maori tribe whose history includes cannibalism.

Head backs 'old school' play

A return to the days of snowball fights and tree climbing in the school playground will be demanded today by a leading independent school headmaster.

Morales creates Mother Earth Ministry

An indigenous Bolivian man attends the closing ceremony of the World's Pople Conference on Climate Change in Cochamaba, hosted by the country's President Evo Morales.

My Week: Aaron Porter

The new president of the National Union of Students reflects on a nerve-racking election triumph

Doctors: take 'bottled sunshine' pills

It is called "bottled sunshine" and we should all be taking more of it, doctors said yesterday.

A foreign affair - bringing young people and politics together

Essex student Joe Bennett, 16, wants to attend the Global Young Leaders Conference in America this summer with three other students and a teacher from his school.
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John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
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Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'