Fast Track: The bonds of youth

Why do the friendships that we make at university prove to be some of the strongest emotional bonds we form?

Leading Article: Now, Mr Prescott, what about doing something concrete?

IN A BEERBOHM caricature, a small child, seeing a pompous literary type, turns to her mother and asks: "Mama, what is that gentleman for?" We should ask the same question about John Prescott. Documents pour out of his grandiloquently named Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. But not much action follows. Yesterday his Urban Task Force, under the architect Lord Rogers, produced a report, Towards an Urban Renaissance, with over 100 recommendations. Will it just add to the pile that already includes a transport White Paper and a draft Bill on local government reform?

Letter: Our K-For soldiers

Sir: Two particular problems that will face the British members of K-For need to be thought about in advance.

Letter: Short-term outlook

Sir: The discussion of a new paradigm, or a new economy, is nothing new ("New paradigm theory gains ground", 1 June) but then neither is a "Goldilocks" recovery from a long-term structural recession or slump.

Dance: Davies transcends herself

Siobhan Davies

Arts: All that is solid melts into air

Tonight sees the world premiere of Wild Air by Siobhan Davies, Britain's top contemporary choreographer.

Open Eye: We are the champions... again

The OU has joined the elite group of universities to have won University Challenge twice, following victory over Oriel College, Oxford, in the final on 27 April. No university has yet won it three times.

A Family Affair: `I hoped Guy's Buddhism was a phase, like skateboarding'

Novelist Katie Fforde, 52, From Stroud In Gloucestershire, Has Two Sons, Guy, 21, And Francis, 19, Who Became Buddhists And Left School To Move To A Dharma Centre In Somerset. Katie Found Their New-Found Faith Very Difficult To Come To Terms With

Obituary: Christine Glanville

AS ONE of Gerry Anderson's chief puppeteers and puppet-makers, Christine Glanville saw the whole evolution of film and television puppetry and was at the heart of that development. She worked on almost all of the classic Anderson television series of the 1960s, including Stingray and Thunderbirds.

Hockey: Doncaster's safety play

THERE SEEMS little doubt that Doncaster's priority this weekend will be tomorrow's first leg of their two-match women's National League play-off at Walsall. On Sunday, they head for High Wycombe for their EHA quarter-final Cup tie against Slough.

Hockey: Students revived by Laird

SIX GOALS from Adam Laird allowed Cambridge University to cast off their nightmare of throwing away a two-goal advantage in the Varsity match last Tuesday, which finished in a 2-2 draw, when they resumed their challenge for a National League place at the weekend, writes Bill Colwill.

Travel for Women: She's got the whole world in her hands

A global organisation that encourages female friendship is joining in the celebrations for International Women's Day. By Rachel Henry

HOCKEY: Whitchurch eye border crossing

HOCKEY

`Sometimes you can't get to the mainland when you need to - let alone when you want to'

We lived in Bledlow Ridge in Buckinghamshire, just outside High Wycombe. Our reason for moving to Mull was that my husband had had family on Iona and for most of his youth he came to the islands for holidays. My husband's degree was in hotel management, and I ran a small hotel in Windsor, but we'd always wanted to do something together. We had a couple of holidays here before we saw a property we liked. It was a house that had been uninhabited for 17 years. We bought the plot next to it and hoped to extend the house to turn it into a hotel. After we bought it we were told we should really knock it down and start from scratch, which we did.

Rugby Union: Donnelly sets the standard for Australia's day

Tourists' confidence prevails over a lacklustre England.
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Career Services

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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick