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.

Cricket: The weight of great expectation

Chris Lewis returns to the England side after injury for the second Test at Headingley tomorrow. Adam Szreter spoke to him

From Maya to murder

JONESTOWN by Wilson Harris Faber pounds 9.99

BUDOMIR VUJACIC HAS KNEE SURGERY

Football

BOOKS : Visionary in a red gown

THIS second novel vaults over the difficulty traditionally associated with following up a successful debut. Swirling around nationalist and international politics, government brutality and corruption, it creates a rich impressionist landscape of a society in the throes of rapid and violent change, filtering economics and ideologies through the visions of childhood. The machinations of men in power are presented as both absurd and cruel: magical realism, here, is invented by politicians. The exuberance and extravagance of the images function as satire. This imaginary Guyana is both real and very weird.

how to go on an expedition

Holiday brochures leave expeditioners cold. For them the lure is exotic: tracking down striped hyenas in Kenya, and investigating their diet by collecting and drying their droppings, or befriending Chamacoco fishermen in Paraguay.

BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS CHAPTER & VERSE

BOOKS FOR CHRISTMASCHAPTER & VERSE2 Pamela Norris's beautifully produced Through the Glass Window Shines the Sun (Little, Brown pounds 13.99) brings together verse and painting from the Middle Ages. Illustrations from illuminated manuscripts accompany texts culled from Boccaccio, Chaucer, Malory and Anon: "Green groweth the Holly" is Henry VIII's charming contribution - a paean to fidelity, the hypocritical old so-and-so.

David McAlmont: the misunderstood star

Does David McAlmont deserve to be big? Ask anyone who's heard McAlmont and Butler's number 8 hit "Yes". This man has an extraordinary voice, the voice of a crazed Dionne Warwick. He's also beautiful, black and gay. Looking into life's crystal ball for a moment, does that spell STARDOM, or TROUBLE?

We must end this war of town v country

Most of us live in cities and constantly plot our escape. But now, rural interests are resisting the invaders

Worry no longer about that piece of string

BUNHILL

Guyana cyanide leak `a disaster'

Georgetown - President Cheddi Jagan of Guyana designated a large swath of territory south of the capital as an environmental disaster zone after cyanide from a Canadian-owned gold mine seeped into the Omai river, which joins the Essequibo, Guyana's largest river. Mr Jagan pledged to take all possible steps to contain the contamination from the deadly poison that was discovered at the Omai gold mine last Saturday.

Cyanide from mine threatens Guyana river

PHIL DAVISON

Illingworth prefers to keep a low profile

Ray Illingworth, who is an amiably talkative man, does not like press conferences. He has rejected several requests that, as the chairman of selectors, he should appear before the media at the close of play on each day.

Going to El and back

THE CREATURE IN THE MAP by Charles Nicholl, Cape pounds 20

Profile: Fighter against time Dennis Andries

Harry Mullan meets Britain's ageing lord of the ring who has earned res pect the hard way

OBITUARIES / Norman Beaton

As the elder statesman of black actors in Britain, Norman Beaton was a lifelong champion of their rights and opportunities in theatre, film and television. Beaton himself was involved in many ``firsts'' in all those media, although it was as the P eckhambarber in the Channel 4 situation comedy Desmond's that he gained international fame.
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?