News In other news ... Jon Snow performed at last year's Newsroom's Got Talent charity event

The veteran Channel 4 host let readers in on the inner workings of his mind – and it’s not as laundered as one might have thought

Hirst's £50m skull? It's no more than a 'decorative object'

When Damien Hirst unveiled a diamond-encrusted human skull worth £50m, his fans hailed it as a haunting work of genius which fully deserved to become the most expensive piece of contemporary art ever made.

All about my mother: the visual tributes from top artists

For centuries, artists have turned to their mothers for creative inspiration. John Lennon wrote anguished lyrics about his, the Spanish film-maker Pedro Almodovar dedicated at least one film to his and the artist Whistler captured his in an iconic painting.

The loo that shook the world: Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabi

In 1917, nobody imagined that an act of rebellion by a young French painter would change the face of art. As Marcel Duchamp’s notorious ‘Fountain’ takes centre stage at Tate Modern, Philip Hensher stands up for the power of the porcelain

Illuminated gospels tell the craftsman's tale

An exhibition of church windows challenges the notion that craft is the poor relation of fine art - but ultimately reinforces it

Howard Hodgkin: Bold, unconventional and uncompromising

Bold, unconventional and uncompromising, Howard Hodgkin was once regarded as a marginal figure in British art. More than half a century later, and still refining his style, he has become one of the true giants of contemporary painting. On the eve of his first major retrospective, Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate, explores the artist's unique vision - and its dazzling energy

The eyebrows have it for new penguin species

In a world full of disappearing or threatened species, here is some good news at last. The planet is about to welcome a new species of penguin.

Turner Prize winner charts his insecurities in pottery

Grayson Perry's first exhibition since winning the Turner Prize picks up where he left off when he collected the accolade dressed as his female alter ego, Claire.

Design: Nicely brought up but badly behaved

You thought the 1890s were the very last word in decadence, but our own fin-de-siecle is doing pretty well, too - going out in a flurry of disembodied hands, necklaces made of mock Viagra tablets, 60-channel television and an epidemic of hype.

Hand-crafted irony: Grayson Perry's polite pots are smooth, charming and, on closer examination, downright offensive. Robin Dutt admires his cheek

Shock as art tactic is nothing new. In fact, it is increasingly becoming the staple of several artists. But shock and subtlety - now that's something more enjoyable.
Sport
Lionel Messi pictured after reaching the final
world cup 2014
Sport
Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller have shone brightest for Argentina and Germany respectively on their way to the World Cup final
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Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
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Arts and Entertainment
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Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
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Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
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Life and Style
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Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

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One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
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Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?