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.

Obituary: Sir Michael Caine

IN AN unlikely liaison, the three worlds of Michael Caine were never far apart. Agro-business (a corporate buzzword he hated), the continent of Africa in all its manifestations, and the Booker Prize for Fiction were his life.

`I can't see anyone who would be a better mayor'

IS TREVOR PHILLIPS the man Tony Blair would like to be London's first elected mayor? The man himself laughs and says he would be interested to know. So would a lot of other people, since this week he came as close to throwing his hat into the ring as it is possible to do without quitting his job and campaigning full time for it.

Historical Notes: Jonestown, once a horror, now a joke

JONESTOWN IN 1978 shocked and appalled me. When I saw the pictures of the bloated bodies of 913 people, 274 of them children, without much insight into Jim Jones and his American followers I readily attached responsibility for the painful deaths of those children by cyanide to the country's politicians of the day. Somehow a rampant political corruption had reaped the whirlwind of this massacre of the innocents. The country's symbolic death at the hands of a corrupt leadership had been rehearsed for the world to see and all that remained was a second less newsworthy calamity of the death of the nation.

Obituary: Ron Phillips

RON PHILLIPS was one of the most powerful orators black Britain has ever produced. He was one of the first West Indians in Britain to understand the significance of and translate the political, cultural and organisational importance of black self-awareness to that generation of young black men - and they were mainly men - in the late 1960s and 1970s who were suffering, en masse, for the first time the pressures of living in a racist society.

Books: Sexy Marilyn and all them boys

Buxton Spice

`Was strange, our sweat mixed'

A courageous new novel breaks taboos to tell the secret story of a Caribbean sexual awakening.

Books; Harvesting the trees of knowledge

Two young writers have given powerful voices to the `East Indian' women of the Caribbean. Paula Burnett welcomes them; Cereus Blooms at Night by Shani Mootoo Granta, pounds 14.99, 249pp; Buxton Spice by Oonya Kempadoo Phoenix House, pounds 12.99, 176pp

Race campaigner Narayan dies

THE BLACK rights activist and lawyer Rudy Narayan, who was accused of playing a part in sparking the 1995 Brixton riots, has died of liver disease, aged 60.

Debt relief for the Third World is not enough

ONE THING that all people of goodwill can agree on is that we are against anyone starving, especially in the Third World. My entire generation was raised on the notion that one sign of decency, if not piousness, was to pop a penny in the tin for starving children in Africa.

Gardening: Suburban savannah

After a trip to South America, Anna Pavord plans to bring a touch of paradise to a very English garden

Books: A parrot at the Tempest

THE MIGRATION OF GHOSTS by Pauline Melville Bloomsbury pounds 15.99

Cricket: Lambert can no longer be ignored

IT HAS been a long wait for Clayton Lambert. Regarded by a succession of selectors as too crude for Test cricket, the heavy-set left-hander with the crab-like stance had despaired of ever getting another chance to represent the West Indies. In spite of an imposing regional record and a fruitless search for openers to replace Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes, Lambert had been ignored after a solitary Test against England in 1991. Frustrated, he went into voluntary exile, making his runs in the Durham League in the summer and, for three winters, for Northern Transvaal in South Africa.

Books: Long overdue

The huge IMPAC literary prize is the only major award where librarians get a vote. Vanessa Thorpe examines the shortlist

Books: You killed the man I loved

Richard Gott is moved by a son's attempt to understand the father he never knew

Cricket: England likely to replace Tufnell with Caddick for fifth Test

ANDREW CADDICK is expected to replace Phil Tufnell, the slow left- armer, in England's team for the fifth Test against West Indies when the selectors meet today to pick the side for the match starting tomorrow.
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Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
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J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
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Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
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Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
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Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
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Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
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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