News Scott Simon, a broadcaster on the US National Public Radio network, staged a Twitter vigil for his terminally ill mother

The American radio broadcaster who won praise for his poignant tweets from the bedside of his terminally ill mother has disclosed that she died on Monday night.

The Sly Company of People Who Care, By Rahul Bhattacharya

Guyana novel flows like a river

A Slice of Sandwich: Langer can still laugh about how a journalist cost him the Open

Bernhard Langer was given a lifetime achievement award at the Association of Golf Writers annual dinner here last night. The German then had to listen to a speech by the member of the AGW who is the reason why Langer does not have an Open title to his name. Typically, Langer had the good grace to laugh when reminded about it.

Hacking Scandal: Why student journalists should be the most worried

Journalism students are told they will be mistrusted, disliked and belittled in the first week of studying the trade. The public will always hate you, they are told, and you have to be fierce enough to go after the story they will read the next day despite this. Persistence and harassment are taught as means to get the truth and the byline.

Letter from the editor: Friendship can corrupt

It is becoming clear that last week marked a landmark moment not only in the history of modern British journalism, but also the relationship between politicians and the media and the public perception thereof.

The Reading List: Margaret Thatcher

Last week saw the release of the first trailer for 'The Iron Lady'. Here's your background reading for Phyllida Lloyd's Thatcher biopic.

Tony and Susan, By Austin Wright

Lost classic with a thriller inside

Philip Hensher: Fiction takes you to places that life can't

It takes a novelist, not a psychologist, to explain why people sometimes behave out of character

Pakistan rejects US 'murder' claim

Pakistan has rejected allegations by the top US military officer that the government sanctioned the killing of a journalist who wrote about the country's powerful security establishment.

Mysterious Wisdom: The Life and Work of Samuel Palmer, By Rachel Campbell-Johnston

Some readers of biography turn first to check the index; others to the author's acknowledgements. In this volume the latter ends with thanks to "Flea" and "Bear", who kept her company throughout the writing. Though "cats" receive ten entries in the index, such whimsy is thankfully absent from the rest of an energetic and lively re-telling of the artist Samuel Palmer's life. Born in 1805, Palmer grew up like Tennyson and Ruskin in a culture imbued with nature worship and fervent religion in overlapping measure. Ending in 1881, his life witnessed great economic, demographic, technological and political change, against most of which young fogey Palmer set his face, preferring to emulate "crinkle-crankle goths". Responding to ancient churches, he was set to drawing, and at age 14 sold his first landscape, for seven guineas.

Exam papers 'graded incorrectly'

Headteachers are warning of "serious alarms" over the marking of national curriculum tests for 11-year-olds taken by 600,000 pupils this summer.

Francis King: Novelist and man of letters who specialised in depicting people thrown together but longing to break free

"I have often said that I am never happier than when I am writing," runs the final paragraph of Francis King's autobiography, Yesterday Came Suddenly (1993). "But it might have been better for me and for those close to me if it had not been so." Here King, ever sensitive to what he perceived as his own shortcomings, was doing himself an injustice. A prolific and accomplished novelist, whose output in his 1970s and '80s heyday ran to a book a year, he was also a gregarious man, devoted to his friends and prepared to travel enormous distances – sometimes literally – on their behalf. In a career that extended into its seventh decade, he wrote at least half a dozen novels that deserve a place in the late 20th-century canon.

Five BBC stars are paid over £1m

At least five BBC presenters, actors and journalists are paid salaries of more than £1m, according to an analysis of figures from the broadcaster's forthcoming annual report, with Graham Norton, pictured above, thought to be the top earner on £1.5m per year.

Triumph 675R Review

We headed off to Brooklands to see one of the most iconic and most impressive pieces of British engineering, Concorde, along with a new contender to that title, the brand new Triumph 675R.

Review of ‘A Doll’s House’ at the Arcola Theatre

Set in the 19th century, ‘A Doll’s House’ focuses on the seemingly idyllic marriage of Nora Helmer and her husband Torvald.

Old Robsonians' six-a-side heroes are still going strong after 15 years

The Independent charity auction winners have lifted 11 titles in seven years, had Shilton as their coach and even represented England. Sam Cunningham finds out how they do it
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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