News A tractor sits in flood water still present in fields on the Somerset Levels near Langport in Somerset

Some villages cut off by floodwater by almost a month

Agnes Oaks: 'My body is fighting what I do'

The great dancer Agnes Oaks is hanging up her pointes, but fans can see her once more on tour and on the London Coliseum stage

Marcus Berkmann: Punishment in a post office queue

The woman in front of you is sending a dozen small parcels to Estonia...

Ali Smith: Do you call that a Christmas present?

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me: a whole month whose daylight ended at roughly half past three. I looked out the window and watched it fall.

Hamish McRae: If the US car industry can't get off the road to hell, we'll be driving there too

Something will be patched up to rescue the three giant US automobile companies – or perhaps one should say two and a half because poor Chrysler is a shadow of its past glory. You cannot rule out the US version of bankruptcy, Chapter 11, which is less onerous than our own. But even without that devastating step, the industry will not be the same again. What we are seeing is one more inevitable step along an unavoidable path. The industry will be smaller, maybe much smaller, even when this particular downturn ends and the long, slow slog upwards can begin.

Profit warnings and sagging retail salesadd to recession fears

Gloomy outlook for Savills, Inchcape and UK Coal

Rowers: 'We really paid for that with our souls'

Britain's rowing team picked up their Olympic record where they left off in Athens: a gold medal for the men's four. "We really paid for that with our souls," said Steve Williams, the sole survivor of the 2004 boat. "Athens was an epic journey, but I think we can possibly top that this year.

Battle for South Ossetia fought in cyberspace

The six-day war between Russia and Georgia may have seemed a scruffy, bloody, almost 19th-century nationalist conflict, but it saw the deployment of what will be a major weapon in the wars of the future: the internet. South Ossetia was, say experts in both technology and military studies, the world's first cyberwar.

British scullers keep heads to earn victories

Five British scullers and a four launched themselves into the Olympic regatta with success at Sunyi rowing park yesterday.

The Bloomsbury Ballerina, By Judith Mackrell

Maynard Keynes's eccentric Russian wife wowed audiences and appalled Virginia

Paperbacks: Between Each Breath, by Adam Thorpe

The retro pleasures of the Hampstead novel are revived in this highbrow love story that would do any beach bag proud. On a visit to Estonia, Jack Middleton, one of England's "most promising young composers", falls in love with waitress Kaja.

Rowing: Canadians storm to Grand Challenge Cup after deluge delay

The two crews visiting Henley on their way to the Beijing Olympics duly won their events yesterday. Elliot Hovey and Wesley Piermarina of California RC beat their compatriots Peter and Thomas Graves in the Double Sculls, and the South Africans Shaun Keeling and Ramon Di Clementé won the Goblets for pairs against the German lightweights Ole Rueckbrodt and Felix Otto.

The Complete Guide to: Estonia

The smallest ex-Soviet republic is now the little nation that could – an entertaining, joyous destination with one foot in the Middle Ages and another in the 21st Century. By Neil Taylor

Miliband defends Lisbon Treaty

Britain is making "no assumptions" about the Lisbon Treaty coming into force on 1 January next year, the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, said on the eve of the Irish referendum which could determine the EU charter's fate.

Sarah Sands: An imperfect memory fends off a lifetime of shame

When I worked at The Daily Telegraph, our commercial fortunes were built on a fixed front-page advertisement for improving your memory. The firm that paid so highly for the slot knew that the elderly readership regarded memory as sacred, and its loss as a cruel separation from identity. What are we, if not a sum of our past? Yet for Jill Price, a 42-year-old school administrator and widow, memory is a sadistic jailer, imposing the past on the present, without sequence or respite.

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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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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'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick