Sport on TV: Castro may spoil for a fight but his boxers aren't spoilt at all

Cuba has a proud and prolific boxing tradition, and for a small island they certainly punch above their weight. In the national academy, alongside giant posters of its great exponents of the noble art, hangs the image of Fidel Castro himself, the "champion of champions". For a man who spent 40 years giving the United States a bloody nose, it seems a fair title.

Last Night's TV: Jamie's Dream School/Channel 4<br />Kidult &ndash; Cuban Punch-Up: the Boys Who Fought for Castro/BBC4

Things at Jamie's Dream School continue to be nightmarish from any conventional view of educational progress. But if you jettison all thoughts of discipline, control and purposive movement there are beginning to be glimmers of light. As last night's episode demonstrated, it is actually possible to tear the mask of torpid disaffection off these faces and replace it with something more animated and even hopeful. Which is, surely, good news, even if some large questions remain about the wider practical application of this experiment's findings. One shudders to think how some sections of the press would react to the strategy Robert Winston had settled on to secure his class's interest in reproductive biology. "Robert Winston's hands-on science class is reaching it's climax," was how the voiceover put it (why settle for one innuendo when you squeeze two into the sentence?), but a blunter description would be curricular handjobs. Two of the class had been sent off with a lads' mag to produce sperm samples, so that Winston's nifty projecting microscope (what proportion of an ordinary school's budget might that consume?) would have something to magnify. Gloomy eugenicists may have noted that the results seemed to be of excellent quality. Then sea urchins were issued to everyone in class for another exercise in erotic stimulation. Apparently, if you jiggle a male sea urchin you can persuade it that the time is right for spawning, a fact that caused some excitement in class. "I made a sea urchin come!" yelled one girl. Not a big draw on a CV, I would have thought, but still evidence that she could be engaged by something other than the latest text message.

Castro: I quit party post five years ago

Fidel Castro said yesterday that he resigned five years ago from all his official positions, including head of Cuba's Communist Party, a position he was thought to still hold.

Screen Talk: Into the blue again

The film-maker James Cameron, the ultimate technology geek, is building up momentum for Avatar 2.

Carlos Acosta, By Margaret Willis

Black Amber Inspirations is a new series of compact biographies of high achievers from black and other minority communities.

Guantanamo traumas give Obama a dose of political reality

President's new policy disappoints the left &ndash; but signals determination to win again

Chef with a dream bets on Castro's hunger for reform

In his final report from Cuba, David Usborne visits a Havana restaurant benefiting from a relaxation of private business laws

Alberto Granado: Doctor who was Che Guevara&rsquo;s companion on a fabled motorcycle journey

Alberto Granado was the young doctor who accompanied his fellow Argentinian and childhood pal Ernesto “Che” Guevara on an idealistic motorcycle odyssey through South America in the early 1950s.

Castro's art scene: a model for modern Cuba

In a series of reports from an island in flux, David Usborne discovers why the privileges enjoyed by artists may soon be coming to all

A country mourns Che Guevara's motorcycle companion

Cuba is mourning Alberto Granado, who six decades ago accompanied a friend on an epic journey across South America that was to awaken their political consciences and alter the geopolitics of a hemisphere. Mr Granado – his pal was Ernesto 'Che' Guevara – died in Havana at the weekend aged 88.

A new dawn for Cuba as capitalism eclipses communism

As state control rolls back, 500,000 are about to lose their jobs. In the first part of a new series, David Usborne reports from Havana

On The Road: Deep underground in the footsteps of revolutionaries

Tae bumped down on the bed frame and it cracked. Startled, he leapt up and uttered a deferential apology to the room. This was no ordinary bed but one belonging to a senior cadre of the Pathet Lao, the Laos communist leadership that had operated from a series of 480 caves deep in the north-east of the country to escape US bombardment between 1964 and 1973.

The pub that will never call time on L S Lowry

To the lunchtime drinkers at Sam's Chop House off Manchester's Cross Street he was simply Mr Lowry: a shy man who liked a half of bitter, a bowl of soup and a cob while relaxing in the old sherry bar during his break from work as a rent collector.

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