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'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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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003