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The Pope described abortion as part of modern ‘throwaway culture’ which has grown to encompass human beings themselves

GOD - A CURRICULUM VITAE

God is unknowable and indescribable - but is it really impossible to profile him, or her, or them? Here, Paul Handley investigates - while over the following pages we examine the spiritual state of the nation

Christmas presents: Gifts for men

Subjected to a perennial onslaught of useless gizmos and novelty boxer shorts, it is hardly surprising that many men seem a little harried by the entire christmas gift scenario. About their true desires however, men are notoriously reticent and remain difficult to please. But according to a reliable source, the most important factors to bear in mind are surprise, humour and practicality. And if your imagination fails you, booze and football paraphernalia are always a winner.

Motor Cycle Show: Battle of the 150mph monsters

As the Motor Cycle Show opens, reveals Roland Brown, there's never been a better time to sit on a bike.

The Intelligent Consumer: Wash, wax and polish

cleanse, tone and moisturise; Why's skincare like car care? Because if you don't do it regularly, boys, the rot sets in. Annalisa Barbieri on products for men

For goodness sake, do something

Learn to play golf or drive a steam train. Your holiday can offer the chance to gain new skills.

Books: The mild one who revved up for an uneasy ride

From biker gangs to mob clans: Laura Thompson (left) and Ian Thomson on women in a man's world; The Perfect Vehicle by Melissa Holbrook Pierson, Granta, pounds 10.99

Motoring: Raging Buell

Packing an 86 horsepower punch, the Lightning is a weapon on wheels, writes Roland Brown

Johnson pulls up as drama proves lame

The answer to the question of who is the fastest man in the world remained open here in the SkyDome last night as Michael Johnson pulled up limping 70 metres from the line in his 150 metres One-to-One Challenge against Donovan Bailey.

Hide and chic

Is it worth it? : Millionaire Hell's Angels take note, pounds 3,800 buys the last word in biker gear

HOW WE MET; EMMYLOU HARRIS AND PHIL KAUFMAN

The singer Emmylou Harris, 47, was born in Birmingham, Alabama. She started her career singing with country rock pioneer Gram Parsons, then after his death in 1973 went on to record 15 albums, including last year's acclaimed Wrecking Ball. She has been married three times, has two daughters, aged 17 and 26, and now lives in Nashville with her mother.

The thing about... Zippo lighters

One of the bits of wisdom disseminated by those advising smokers on how to give up is to throw away all the accoutrements of the weed. Ditch the nacre-covered party case, heave that art deco holder, turn the ashtrays into peanut bowls, sling that tiny silver spoon on a chain - whoops, wrong habit. If you're going to prove your determination, they all have to go.

Golf: Europe's big inspiration

Andy Farrell talks to Laura Davies about the need to tame the Americans

Spam Queens and empty briefcases

WAITING FOR THE SUN: The Story of the Los Angeles Music Scene by Barney Hoskyns, Viking pounds 20

How to master the art of showing off

Today we turn to the subject of master classes. No festival would be complete without a master class. No TV schedule would be complete without a master class or two, especially if the TV station is looking to have its franchise renewed and wants to look a bit cultural, cheaply.

Britain: Hogs hit the road

More than 100 Harley Davidson owners converged on the Hard Rock Cafe in London's West End yesterday to celebrate the restaurant chain's 25th anniversary. After breakfast, the riders, who included singer Paul Young, set off in two groups for Paris. They were to meet French Harley owners just outside the city, and then move on to the Hard Rock on Boulevard Montmartre, where a party had been organised.
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?