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.

Sport on TV: We are in alien territory if the England manager is successful

As the comedian Al Murray said on How To Be England Manager (BBC4, Wednesday): "The Americans must have an alien in a warehouse somewhere who could manage the England team." Given that winning a tournament is about as likely as the discovery of extra-terrestrial life, it could turn out a happy coincidence.

Old-school routes into medicine

Ancient institutions are in rude health for UK students

Pasty-faced, soap-dodging would-be troubadour Pete Doherty

Want to see a dirty movie? Not *that* kind

I fear that someone has been having our Gallic friends across la Manche on. Somehow, they've come to believe that the pasty-faced, soap-dodging would-be troubadour that is Pete Doherty is not only cool, but that he is a sensible choice for the romantic lead in a period film.

They come here... Chinese TV host rails against 'foreign trash

Presenter calls expelled reporter a bitch in nationalist rant about expatriate spies and liars

Racism, bullying, threats ... daily life of migrant workers

Study reveals inhuman conditions endured by those who are under the control of gangmasters
Deciphering the past: The Rosetta stone at the British Museum

Cracking The Egyptian Code: The Revolutionary Life Of Jean-François Champollion, By Andrew Robinson

Portrait of a quiet genius who revolutionised our understanding of the ancient world.

Top Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat suffers heart attack

A senior medical official says a top Palestinian peace negotiator has been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack.

Book of a Lifetime: Madame Bovary, By Gustave Flaubert

After sneaking onto a literature degree via a comprehensive, I found myself nonplussed by the rules and exclusions.

A little less conversation: Michael Parkinson talking to David Attenborough

Chat shows: Look who's talking

Everyone – politico, activist – seems to think they can play host. Luke Blackall points out that good conversation is an art

Government to unveil plan to improve NHS language skills

Doctors whose English is not up to scratch could be struck off amid fears that patients are being put at risk.

Tehran set for nuclear talks

Iran and six of the world's major powers, including the UK and US, prepared for rare talks yesterday aimed at easing fears that a deepening dispute over the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme could plunge the Middle East into a new war.

Holy Jihad, from the inside: Timothy Mo

Pure, By Timothy Mo

Just past the halfway mark in Timothy Mo's seventh novel, his heroine – a strapping Bangkok ladyboy who has joined a company of bloodthirsty Islamist warriors – wanders through a serene orchard on an island close to Singapore. Snooky's jihadi platoon (sanook = fun in Thai) has halted for a brief rest en route to help the insurgent Moros of the Philippines as fellow holy warriors. She (and for all the unwanted testosterone that jungle warfare brings, Snooky's chosen pronoun never wavers) samples the fruit of the ebony tree. It is not dark and dense like the wood, but pale, delicate and enigmatic: "tart and sweet in the same mouthful, soft but crunchy... If marzipan dormice grew on trees... they would taste like this". If this moment smacks of Eden, and forbidden fruit, it also helps initiate Snooky into the mysteries of the jihadi pursuit, where darkness yields to light, stark contradictions resolve themselves, and chaste perfection grows from the crooked timber of humanity.

Lindsay Hawker's father 'relieved' as killer Tatsuya Ichihashi loses sentence appeal

The father of a English teacher murdered in Japan today spoke of his relief after her killer lost an appeal against his life sentence.

Barney McKenna, the founder of the Dubliners

Barney McKenna: Founding member of the Dubliners

When they made Barney, they broke the mould," said fiddle player John Sheahan shortly after hearing of the sudden death of Barney McKenna, his close friend and much-loved musical colleague in The Dubliners for nearly half a century.

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Oscar Quine takes a stroll along High Street Kensington yesterday in ‘his’ electric blue stilettos
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The temples of Angkor, where tourists have been stripping naked
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Terry Sue Patt pictured in 1995
peopleTerry Sue-Patt played Benny Green in the classic children's TV show
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The coffin containing the remains of King Richard III is carried on a procession for interrment at Leicester Cathedral on 22 March 2015 in Leicester, England.
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The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
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Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
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Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
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Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?