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.

Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own