Book Of A Lifetime: The Butcher Boy, By Patrick McCabe

I had never heard of 'The Butcher Boy' until about seven or eight years ago, as I was beginning my first novel. An Irish friend of mine read some of my early pages and suggested that I might enjoy the book, that it might inspire me. He was right – I enjoyed it massively – but rather than inspire me. I initially found myself inhibited by it.

Guantanamo detainees in court victory

Britain's highest court has dismissed an attempt by MI5 and MI6 to hide evidence of their alleged complicity in the torture of British residents and their rendition to Guantanamo Bay.

Carlos Acosta: I don't go out thinking, 'Here I come, the Cuban Sex Missile'

Classical ballet harms your body I used to do 40 to 50 shows a year and I've had plenty of body traumas and surgeries, but it's been worth it. Nothing compares to the feeling of being on stage and connecting with an audience.

Chavez vows on TV he will survive as leader

Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez held a televised cabinet meeting in an attempt to show that cancer surgery had not loosened his grip on the nation.

Show of strength as Chavez returns from Cuban cancer treatment

President Hugo Chavez received a hero's welcome as he rallied thousands of supporters upon his return to Venezuela, vowing to beat cancer after undergoing surgery in Cuba.

Is this Cuba's Stonewall moment?

Last week the streets of Havana witnessed their first ever gay pride march. Gianluca Mezzofiore talks to those on the front line of the island's equality movement

A meeting with Castro – then home for Chavez

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made a surprise return from Cuba yesterday, stepping off a plane before dawn amid speculation about his fitness to continue in office after surgery to remove a cancerous tumour.

Hugo Chavez returns to Venezuela

President Hugo Chavez returned to Venezuela from Cuba today, declaring that he felt "fine" as he recovered from surgery that removed a cancerous tumour.

Cuba easing property market rules

Cuba has announced the first details of a highly anticipated new law meant to loosen rules on the buying and selling of homes and cars, which have been tightly controlled since soon after the 1959 revolution.

Venezuelans told to stay calm after Chavez's cancer treatment

Venezuela was on the brink of political chaos last night after President Hugo Chavez admitted in a televised address that he has cancer.

Simon Calder: The importance of being visited by Ernest

The man who pays his way

Hugo Chavez has cancerous tumour removed

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez told his countrymen that he underwent a second surgical procedure in Cuba for the removal of a cancerous growth.

Orlando Bosch: CIA-backed Cuban exile implicated in numerous anti-Castro terrorist operations

It is said that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom-fighter. If so, Orlando Bosch might be all things to all men. A dedicated anti-Castro Cuban, Bosch was implicated in dozens of terrorist acts, including the 1976 bombing of Cubana flight 455, which killed 73 people, and the assassination in Washington, DC the same year of the Chilean exile Orlando Letelier. Hailed as a hero by America's Cuban exile community, Bosch was a prime example of the double standards of the Bush administration's so-called Global War on Terror – especially considering the electoral importance of Florida's Cuban vote – having been personally championed by Jeb Bush and released from US custody by Jeb's father George HW.

Chavez quashes health rumours

Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez hailed the release of new footage of the socialist leader talking with Fidel Castro as evidence he was recovering from surgery in Cuba despite speculation he may have cancer.

Chavez not dead or dying, say allies

Rumours of the impending demise of Hugo Chavez have been greatly exaggerated, his allies said yesterday, insisting that he will be back at work imminently and telling opponents that they should "stop dreaming" of his death.

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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

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The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
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Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
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The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
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It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
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The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
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Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
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