'I'm good with a water cannon'

Passions and indiscretions: Claretta Petacci

Il Duce And His Women, By Roberto Olla, trans. Stephen Parkin

Il Duce And His Women is another biography of one of the most controversial figures in European history: Benito Mussolini. The facts of his life are familiar: from his humble origins (his father was a blacksmith) to his brief socialist phase, then the founding of the Fascist Party with which he created a coalition government and became Italy's prime minister in 1922. Mussolini then appointed himself dictator – calling himself Il Duce, "The Leader". He and Claretta Petacci – his companion of the time – were shot on 28 April 1945 by the Italian Resistance after leading Italy to a disastrous defeat. Their bodies were hung upside down on Piazzale Loreto in Milan.

Duwayne Brooks leaving the Old Bailey after giving his evidence, during which he described his frantic efforts to get help for his dying friend

Friend weeps as he recalls 'blows that killed Lawrence'

Court hears graphic and emotional testimony from witness who insisted on taking stand – despite his father's death on Wednesday

Amol Rajan: Piling on the pressure for modern men to look good

If even a sliver of doubt was loitering in your mind on the central question of modern culture – is The Only Way is Essex (Towie among friends) the best programme of the 21st century? – last week's exhilarating developments should have eradicated it.

Gary Barlow 'hugely disappointed' in Frankie Cocozza

The 'X Factor' judge - who had mentored the 18-year-old hopeful before he was kicked off the ITV1 show  - explained despite being sad to see Frankie forced to leave the competition, he will always be a "friend and supporter" of the teen rocker. 

Syal daughter cleared of assaulting model at party

The teenage daughter of the television actress and writer Meera Syal was yesterday cleared of attacking a male model at a birthday party.

The return of comedy's odd couple

I don't know whether I'm hungry or bored," says a young woman, leaning listlessly out of the window of a messy, down-at-heel rented bedroom. "I need a wee, but I can't be bothered," replies a young man lying on the bed eating his fifth choc-ice of the morning. Welcome (or welcome back) to the world of Steve and Becky, the title characters in Him & Her, the sitcom that deservedly won a record audience for a BBC3 sitcom debut when it was first screened last year.

More domestic bliss from the odd couple of comedy

The lazy lovebirds of Him & Her are back. Gerard Gilbert on the anti-Gavin & Stacey

Would you like 'Red Ken' to father your kids?

In his autobiography, You Can't Say That, Ken Livingstone reveals that, in the early 1990s, while living with his long-term partner, Kate Allen, he was asked by two women if he would father their children. The first woman, journalist Philippa Need, had a daughter in August 1990 and a son in September 1992. He also helped out Jan Woolf, a teacher and political activist, who gave birth to Livingstone's second son in November 1992, just weeks after the first.

Bert & Ernie: Friends – with benefits?

An online petition to have Bert and Ernie to tie the knot on Sesame Street has sparked discussion on when children should be taught about sexual orientation.

Glimpse from bus was last of Milly Dowler

A friend of 13-year-old Milly Dowler was the last person to see her alive before she was abducted and murdered. The Old Bailey was told yesterday that Katherine Laynes, 15, saw Milly from a bus.

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New friends (and songs) for Dorothy

Kids will love this handsome looking show - they'll wonder at the scary tornado, the magic revolve and colourful pop-up surprises, the whizz bangs and flying monkeys and biliously green, broomstick mounted, Wicked Witch of the West.

When you have a friend like Cameron, who needs enemies?

Will China forgive Cameron for his foolish rant about ‘authoritarian capitalism’?

Too hot for America: the TV show Skins

And so to the latest addition to the long, long list of things which are apparently considered too fruity for American television.

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Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'