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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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss