News The Teknik Perdana was looking for oil off the coast of Guyana

Two Britons are believed to be among the crew of a seismic research vessel under effective “ship arrest” today after becoming snarled in a territorial dispute that flared over the weekend between Venezuela and neighbouring Guyana, which dates back over a 100 years to when Guyana was under British control.

Ricky Ponting made his debut for Surrey against Derbyshire

Fred Marafono: Soldier who served in the SAS and fought the rebels in Sierra Leone

Fred Marafono, SAS Squadron Sergeant Major and lion-hearted warrior, spent almost his entire adult life practising his superb military skills. He had the distinction of being selected for the best three times over: in 1964 he was one of the first Fijians to pass selection for the SAS; after extensive service, in 1985 he was asked by David Stirling, founder of the Special Air Service, to join the private security company he was starting up; and in 1995 he was recruited by Simon Mann for the élite South African private combat company, Executive Outcomes, to fight against rebel forces in Sierra Leone's vicious blood diamond wars.

William Hague

William Hague and the £10,000, taxpayer-funded stuffed anaconda

Government budgets may be constricting all round Whitehall, but when it comes to the urgent matter of serpent taxidermy, cash can always be found.

Sunil Narine of the West Indies celebrates dismissing Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene

World Twenty20: 'Sky is the limit' for West Indies

Marlon Samuels believes the “sky is the limit” for West Indies cricket following their ICC Twenty20 final win over hosts Sri Lanka.

Marlon Samuels hits out for the West Indies yesterday

Samuels shows tourists they do not need to be a one-man band

Shivnarine Chanderpaul's batting technique is the antithesis of elegance. Shuffling across the crease to turn the ball into the leg side, his workmanlike style frustrates bowlers and spectators alike. Yet Test cricket will miss him when he is gone.

West Indian bowlers; Fidel Edwards, Kemar Roach and Shane Shillingford

Chaos and crisis in Caribbean

As they arrive for the Tests against England, West Indies are average on the field and a shambles off it. Stephen Brenkley reports

163 escape as crash jet breaks in two

All 163 passengers and crew on board a Caribbean Airlines jet survived when the plane skidded off the runway while landing at night in Guyana and broke in two on the edge of a ravine.

The Sly Company of People Who Care, By Rahul Bhattacharya

Guyana novel flows like a river

On the trail of the unexpected in the land of the giants

World-class wildlife, swathes of untouched rainforest and historic cities. Donald Greig finds much to recommend about a trip to Guyana and Suriname

To Miss With Love, By Katharine Birbalsingh

Katharine Birbalsingh is the deputy head whose observations on South London schools in her blog, and at the Conservative Party conference, put her under pressure to resign from a Streatham "Academy". You needn't agree with her views, or how they were publicised, to call this over-reaction. And this fictionalised re-creation – borrowing its title from ER Braithwaite's To Sir, With Love (1959) – will be pored over for political significance.

Meet the hoatzin: the smelly fowl with get-out claws

A wheezy alarm call, like a smoker's cough, is the first clue. Then, as your dugout noses further into the Amazonian backwater, a flurry of wingbeats has you peering upwards. A big, chestnut-coloured bird lurches out of the tangle and flaps clumsily away, like some deranged, prehistoric pheasant.

Twenty-three survive Venezuela plane crash

A plane owned by Venezuela's state-run airline Conviasa crashed yesterday during a domestic flight with about 50 people on board, but at least 23 survived.

'I'm always looking for trouble': Why Dom Joly prefers to take his holidays in hell

Forget the sanitised world of modern package tourism. For Dom Joly, it’s more rewarding to spend time visiting the planet’s more difficult destinations
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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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