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.

Briton amongst dead in Thai disco blaze

A British man has been confirmed as one of four people killed when a fire swept through a nightclub in Thailand.

Torch-bearer with a flair for languages

A teenager who carried the Olympic Torch days before he sat his A-level exams said he was overjoyed at getting three A* grades and two As.

Landmarks of lubricity: Film adaptation of 'Fanny Hill'

Boyd Tonkin: Fifty Shades has topped all records - but rude books often lead the way

With straining limbs, tensed muscles and sweaty skin, toned bodies stretch and push towards the summits of physical endeavour, sometimes helped on by arcane technological aids but always urged towards their goal by an excited audience of millions. They break through the pain barrier and, after drawn-out minutes of suffering and constraint, hit that longed-for peak and collect the reward of a massive rush of endorphins. Yes, it's been a fabulous summer for EL James and Fifty Shades of Grey. I will leave it to the historians – or perhaps psychoanalysts – to tease out the connections between Olympic frenzy and the unstoppable popularity of James's SM trilogy. Every day, it seems, new records tumble.

Britain's pivot Robin Garnham shoots during the men's preliminary Group A handball match Great Britain vs Argentina

Welcome to the wacky world of handball

Jerome Taylor spends a day at the Copper Box stadium watching the surprising (and slightly sticky) hit sport that's got British fans hooked

A lot of huffing and puffing but HuffPo has yet to find its niche

After the grand fanfare from Arianna Huffington, I've been slightly disappointed by the impact of her eponymous website since its arrival in the United Kingdom a year ago.

Simon Kelner: Fun in Games is stranger than this ludicrous reality

Sometimes real life imitates art. BBC2 comedy series Twenty Twelve, a spoof documentary about the preparations for London 2012 set in the fictional Olympic Deliverance Commission, has just returned for a short run ahead of the Games.

Al-Qa'ida 'online propaganda expert' arrested in Britain

A London man has been arrested on suspicion of helping to design and publish online propaganda for an al-Qa'ida offshoot behind an electronic magazine credited with spreading the group’s ideology and its terrorist tactics around the globe.

The Week in Books: Will the BRICS make our books? Slowly, global publishing turns a new page

Maybe it's a remnant from an encyclopaedia-browsing childhood (or just early exposure to the Guinness Book of Records), but I still love chunky illustrated reference books – a taste for bulky blocks of print incompatible with the price per square foot of property anywhere in southern England. Earlier this year, I bought Dorling Kindersley's wonderful History Year by Year – nugget after shiny nugget of the human past over the millennia, all the way from the Great Rift Valley in Kenya to Silicon Valley in California. Checking the credits page, I found that the smart design work on this multi-handed monument of editing came from India, where publishers now often outsource not just routine office functions but almost every skilled task. DK began to operate in India even before the reference giant was swallowed by Penguin in 2000.

160,000 back student Richard O'Dwyer in legal fight

More than 160,000 people have signed a petition launched by the founder of internet encyclopaedia Wikipedia to block the extradition of a British student to the US on copyright charges.

School's textbook exam blunder

Fifty gifted students were disqualified from an exam after teachers mistakenly told them they could take books in with them.

Wayne Rooney is substituted by Fabio Capello during last year's Euro Qualifier against Wales

Fabio Capello appears critical of England striker Wayne Rooney with quip 'he must only speak Scottish'

Fabio Capello has made a thinly veiled dig at Wayne Rooney's below-par form for England at Euro 2012 by joking that the striker must only understand "Scottish" because he "only plays well in Manchester".

Michael Gove plans to scrap GCSEs and bring back tougher O-levels

The Education Secretary wants pupils to start studying for more difficult exams from 2012

The Twelve Caesars, By Matthew Dennison

Rome's first dozen emperors covered the spectrum of humanity. A vigorous new history restores them to life.

The ads feature a foreign man walking into a café and then sitting down with three young Egyptians

Egypt's on-air warning: Don't talk to foreigners – they're all spies

Human rights activists warn TV adverts aimed at stopping journalists from covering abuses

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Bruges
India & Nepal
Japan
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album