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16 killed in stampede for government jobs

Divers help in river search for missing eight-year-old boy

Police divers were today helping in the continuing search for an eight-year-old boy who fell into a swollen river while playing with friends.

Big One Rollercoaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

World records: When life is – literally – a rollercoaster ride

Richard Rodriguez must have a strong stomach. The American rollercoaster enthusiast announced yesterday that he'd be attempting to ride the Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach for 102 days – from 31 May to mid-September.

Rain fails to alleviate drought

This week's heavy rain has not alleviated the drought gripping swathes of the country, the Environment Agency said today.

Album: Eric Whitacre, Water Night (Decca)

Water Night demonstrates the wider compositional abilities of American choral wunderkind Eric Whitacre, incorporating orchestral pieces alongside choral favourites such as "Her Sacred Spirit Soars".

Tipping point: I win the 25km open water swim in Shanghai last year
Jarno Smeets in full 'flight'

News to get in a flap about

It was a shaky video of such an astonishing feat that it was hard to imagine it wasn’t an act of computer-generated viral marketing. In a clip that had been viewed more than a million times by last night, a Dutch hobbyist appeared to have succeeded where Da Vinci and generations of dreamers had failed – and flown like a bird.

West Beach in Newhaven failed to make the grade, but other beaches could gain village green status

When is a beach not a beach? When it's a village green...

Naming technicality in legal test case may give public the right to use 'private' coastlines

P&O receives £150m cross-Channel ferry

P&O Ferries has taken delivery of a new £150 million ship set for service in one of the world's busiest waterways.

HMS Victory to be raised from the sea

The remains of the first HMS Victory are to be raised from the sea bed nearly 300 years after it sank, it was reported today.

70-year-old oldest to swim the English Channel

A retired breast cancer surgeon achieved his ambition of becoming the oldest person to swim the English Channel today.

Pensioner in bid to break Channel swim record

A 70-year-old retired breast cancer surgeon hopes to become the oldest person to swim the English Channel.

Competitors prepare for a race with a fearsome reputation

Fastnet Race Preview

Lost at sea – the £1bn of wasted cod

Almost £1bn worth of North Sea cod has been discarded by UK fishing vessels since 1963.

Anglers rescued after boat capsizes in English Channel

Three anglers had to be rescued this morning after their fishing boat capsized and sank in the English Channel.

A Day That Shook The World: First hovercraft run

On 25 July 1959, the fiftieth anniversary of Louis Blériot's successful flight across the English Channel, a totally new form of transport made its own first crossing of the Channel - the hovercraft.

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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
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
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
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'