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A group representing 11 local authorities has written to Chancellor George Osborne expressing its serious concerns about the possible closure of a major museum in the north of England.

From left: Nicola, Kimberley, Cheryl, Nadine and Sarah

A plea to Girls Aloud: Don't split up!

Boo to all you music snobs. Girls Aloud deliver great pop music, and that's what they're there for

Bill Gates reviews a solar-powered lavatory at the Reinventing the Toilet fair

First he reinvented computers, now Bill Gates wants to reinvent the toilet

The world's richest man has set himself a new challenge – to improve sanitation for the poor

Milly Dowler 'tried to cut her wrists'

Murdered Milly Dowler made a half-hearted attempt to cut her wrists after being called names when she started her secondary school, the Old Bailey heard today.

Les Misérables, Barbican Theatre, London

There are ghosts and survivor's guilt in the second act of Les Misérables that sound like a trailer for the upcoming stage adaptation of Birdsong; Victor Hugo's Marius (played by pop idol Gareth Gates) comes through the carnage on the Paris barricades and sings of empty chairs and tables in the ABC café while his friends materialise in a celestial, supportive chorus.

Dave Pollock: Sadly, X Factor is all part of Cowell's plan to own pop music

An air of depressing inevitability hangs over The X Factor winner Joe McElderry's version of Miley Cyrus' "The Climb" as it grinds its way to the Christmas No 1 slot next week. There will be those who remember when guessing the holder of the festive top spot was a bit of seasonal fun, before Simon Cowell annexed it as part of his masterplan to own pop music.

Letters: Palestine and the West

West shares the blame for exile of the Palestinians

Balls launches help for fellow stammerers

It was, Ed Balls said, a “particularly difficult” speech for him to make.

'Slumdog' star writes memoir – at the age of nine

Rubina Ali, one of the young stars of the Oscar-winning film, is making publishing history with an account of her unexpected rise to fame

A new protest song: Joan Baez - she shall overcome

A veteran of 40 years of demonstrations, the American folk singer's latest campaign involves camping in a tree to save a 14-acre farm from the developers. Andrew Buncombe reports

Hey Nostradamus! By Douglas Coupland

It's like watching Mike Tyson pummel Gareth Gates

John Otway: Fans with a plan for their man

You're 50 and you want a chart hit. How do you do it? John Otway tells Mary Novakovich the answer
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newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
art

The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs

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peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
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Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
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Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
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footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
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Prices correct as of 26 September 2014
Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?