Trio jailed for burying puppies alive in their garden

Three dog breeders were jailed today after two newborn puppies were found buried alive in their garden.

Opening Ceremony

No, not the Olympic one - America's most fashionable and eclectic boutique has touched down in London

<p>1. Sand pit</p>
<p>£59.99, woodentoyshop.co.uk</p>
<p>This dinky playpit in a tasteful wood design won't make your lawn look like a Disney outpost.</p>

The 10 Best outdoor playsets

From sandpits to monkey bars, have lots of fun in the sun

Inside the houses that Brad Pitt built

Brad Pitt has revealed the £130,000 home he asked star architect Frank Gehry to design to revive New Orleans. Simon Usborne looks at the results

Lola Versus (15) / The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best (15)

Two dumpees wander round NYC being goofy. If only they were in the same film

Details revealed on the lavish lifestyle of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's wife Asma

Syrian president's wife in £270K spree

Further details of the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by the wife of the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, were revealed yesterday in a leak of emails allegedly sent by her to an exclusive London furniture store.

Cerca do Sul is surrounded by lawns and an orchard

B&B And Beyond: Cerca do Sul, Alentejo, Portugal

This charming guesthouse is the perfect base for exploring the Costa Vicentina Natural Park, says Susannah Osborne

In The Studio: Richard Deacon, artist

'Having too many people around made me feel paralysed'
A sponge cake in the shape of a heart? Yes, please. For £10, this cream and whole strawberry-filled treat is yours, along with as much tea as two people can drink, at Peyton & Byrne's café at London's Royal Academy, 3pm to 5pm every day. The perfect thing for a super-sweet first date – or a post- Summer Exhibition pick-me-up. Peytonandbyrne.co.uk

Catherine the Great's influence felt at new Edinburgh art show

Empress Catherine the Great demonstrates her powerful and enduring cultural influence over Russia in a new art exhibit at Scotland's National Museum that opened today.

Here's to me: Matthew McConaughey shows how preening narcissism is done as strip-club impresario Dallas in 'Magic Mike'

Magic Mike (15) **
Chariots of Fire (U) ****

Does anyone else remember Steven Soderbergh's announcement that he was giving up on movies? It's an odd sort of retirement, given that he's turning them out faster than ever. After Contagion and Haywire (both 2011) here comes Magic Mike, which is either a shrewd workplace drama or the male answer to Showgirls, depending on your taste. By day the eponymous Mike (Channing Tatum) is a construction worker in Tampa, Florida; by night he's a male stripper at Club Xquisite, delighting young women with his bump'*'grind routines in exchange for the dollar bills they shove down his pants.

<p>1. Constanza</p>
<p>£35, habitat.co.uk</p>
<p>This glass light's natural curved shape gives a soft, ambient light. It will fit naturally into pretty much any interior.</p>

The 10 Best bedside lamps

Lovely ways to light up your life

Contemporary Georgian Fiction, Edited and translated by Elizabeth Heighway

I recently attended a presentation about non-Georgians' perceptions of Georgia. Essentially, we're talking copious drinking, banquets, war, hospitality and Stalin. It's probably a fair summation of what most in the UK know, or think they know, about the country. Now Dalkey Archive Press has attempted to widen our perspective, publishing an anthology of contemporary stories by 20 distinguished Georgian writers. Georgians are proud of their literature – but how many writers can you name?

Of all the slightly silly Olympic-themed paraphernalia we've seen recently, this rather charming patriotic paper Cake Top is our favourite. £3.50 from talkingtables.co.uk (Victoria sponge not included)

My Secret Life: Craig Charles, 47, DJ and actor

My parents were... My mother was Liverpool-Irish and my father was Guyanese and they met outside a boarding house in Liverpool that said, 'No Irish, no niggers, no dogs'. They left together hand-in-hand.

Career Services

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
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