Life and Style Shaken, not stirred: a pre-dinner martini

The aperitif is back, the aperitif is in. At Simon Rogan's joint in the Midland Hotel, Manchester, a guy in a bomber jacket breaks off a conversation with his date, "I'll have Just a Splash – that cocktail with Aperol and Prosecco," he says to the barman.

Clint Dempsey

Confident Clint Dempsey thinks Tottenham 'will be fine' against Norwich

Clint Dempsey thinks Tottenham will have no problem swatting aside Norwich tonight if the Londoners put on a repeat display of the one that took care of Southampton on Sunday.

Man of the hour? 'Genius strategist' Lynton Crosby

If the Tories want a majority at the next election, they should hurry up and sign Lynton Crosby

The Australian political strategist was a proven winner with John Howard and Boris Johnson. His politics are populist, negative and ugly - but above all effective

Amol Rajan: The man who might get the Tories back on track

This may be the week that an Australian you've probably never heard of becomes the third most powerful man in government, after David Cameron and George Osborne. So today I thought I'd tell you a bit about Lynton Crosby.

China blocks New York Times website after report on top official's wealth

An explosive story about the massive wealth accumulated by the family of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao caused the Chinese government to block the website of the New York Times early Friday morning, just days before a sensitive once-in-a-decade transition of power from Wen and others to a new generation of leaders.

Tests for trainee teachers to be revamped to raise status of profession

Would-be teachers will have to complete English essays and answer questions on maths topics including algebra before they can start training, it has been announced.

Capcom respond to negative Resident Evil 6 fan feedback with free update

'Capcom values user feedback on Resident Evil 6 and is working continuously to improve the experience for players.'

BBC to axe further 73 World Service jobs as daily programming is slashed

Cuts come as Government funding transfers from the Foreign Office to the broadcaster

National Dictionary Day - and 'selfie' is the latest word to be added

Lexicographers love National Dictionary Day

"Young people invent words all the time," said John Morse, the president of Merriam-Webster, the publishing company that printed the first American dictionary in 1828.

Slum life on Johnson prize list

A book about life in an Indian slum and the story of George Mallory's attempt to climb Everest are among the contenders for a prestigious literary prize.

Postcard from... Berlin

The east Berlin district of Prenzlauerberg is famous for being hip, environmentally conscious and for having one of the highest birth rates in Germany.

Hong Kong goes crazy for Brit baby names

Meet Fanny Sit. Or Devil Law. And have you heard of Ice Wong, who was arrested last year on drug charges?

Eileen Beasley: Welsh language campaigner

The Rosa Parks of the language movement in Wales was a polite but steel-willed housewife who, with her husband, refused to pay rates on their house in Llangennech, Carmarthenshire, while Llanelli Rural District Council issued demands in English only.

65,000 pupils 'hit by late changes to English grades'

More than 65,000 teenagers may have missed out on C grade passes in their English GCSE because of last-minute changes to grade boundaries, according to the latest analysis of the figures.

'Tens of thousands' affected by GCSE grade boundary changes, say heads

Headteachers today claimed that tens of thousands of teenagers could have been adversely affected by grade boundary changes in GCSE English.

First ever fall in GCSE top grades

The proportion of GCSEs scoring a C or above has fallen for the first time in the exam's 24-year history.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness