Sport Steven Gerrard on England duty in a friendly against Germany in November 2013

Gerrard could call time on his England career but new deeper midfield role might convince him otherwise

July was sunniest since 2006

The July of 2013 has been the warmest, driest and sunniest since 2006 – and today is expected to see a hot start to August too.

Ashes 2013: Alastair Cook confident Kevin Pietersen will be fit for third Test

Calf complaint has made batsman a doubt

People enjoying the good weather on Scarborough beach, as the summer heatwave continues across the UK

Return of the heatwave: Sunnier conditions set to banish rain and storms – for one day at least

After a grey and rainy few days, many Britons may be pleased to hear that the weather looks set to return to temperatures close to those experienced in the heatwave - for Thursday at least.

Kevin Pietersen warms up at Old Trafford

Ashes 2013: Kevin Pietersen tests the pain barrier to prove his fitness for third Test

Kevin Pietersen was put through a series of rigorous training exercises to prove his fitness for the third Test. He was accompanied for most of England's session by the team physiotherapist, Craig De Weymarn.

Of 4,500 wards across England, patients who were treated in 36 wards would be unhappy to send their loved ones to receive the same care

99 per cent are happy with NHS hospital care (in a survey where only 10 per cent actually responded)

Usefulness of data from post-Stafford research already called into question

Ashes 2013: Kevin Pietersen still doubtful for Old Trafford Test

England are continuing their anxious wait over Kevin Pietersen’s fitness for the third Test in the Ashes series.

Gary Hooper (R) of Celtic celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the William Hill Scottish Cup Final

Transfer news: Celtic accept bid from QPR for striker Gary Hooper

The 25-year-old is keen on a return to England

Lightning at Poole Harbour; violent thunderstorms are expected as temperatures rise

Dramatic and uncomfortable end to heatwave forecast with 'violent' thunderstorms and intense humidity

The thermometer breached 33C for first time in 2013, in west London and parts of Surrey

Root six and six: England’s Joe Root hits Steve Smith for one of two sixes in three balls on his way to an unbeaten 178

Ashes 2013: Joe Root revives memories of Len Hutton with unbeaten ton as Australia crumble

Opener becomes second-youngest Yorkshireman to score an Ashes century as England take total command

Steve Smith (right) celebrates Matt Prior’s wicket, one of three he took late yesterday for Australia
The Queen is introduced to the players before the start of play

Ashes 2013: The Queen makes an appearance at Lord's - but can only stay for an hour

Her Majesty saw England lose three early wickets to Australia

Steven Gerrard in pre-season training

Steven Gerrard signs contract extension with Liverpool

England captain has signed a new deal to keep him at Anfield

Rogers, over and out: James Anderson celebrates Chris Rogers’ wicket

It was my finest innings in Ashes Tests, says Ian Bell

Batsman confident of victory after his century puts hosts in command

Ashes 2013: Controversial umpiring makes for interesting viewing at the Ashes

A compelling start to the Investec Ashes has been overshadowed somewhat by umpiring controversies.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
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The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
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Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
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Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas