Sport Gus Poyet gestures during last weekend's 2-2 draw with Southampton

The Black Cats remain in the relegation places despite an upturn in form

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: The ghost of Tiny Tim haunts coalition's children in need

The Government's speedy and savage assaults on the welfare state are taking us back to exploitative and deeply unequal Victorian Britain

Leading article: Civilised standing

Going to the match could be about to get more rigorous, less staid and more fun. Twenty years after Lord Justice Taylor ushered in a new age of football, by recommending all-seater stadiums, the option to stand could be on the way back.

Don Foster: Modern options allow for standing to be safe again

‘Hillsborough was mainly down to sheer overcrowding and a culture of general neglect, not fans being on their feet’

Football fans urged to stand up for the right to stand up

Football supporters have called for their clubs to be allowed to reintroduce terracing to stadiums.

Stan Hey: Terrace apprenticeship was fun – but not to be repeated

‘At times the sway would lift you 30 or 40 yards from your spot and deposit you in the beery heart of the Kop’

Fears over quango set up after Hillsborough

Among the sports-related quangos to bite the dust are the Olympic Park Legacy Company (if only in name) and Cycling England.

High-flying Owls are in the money – and in luck too

Sheffield Wednesday 1 Leyton Orient 0

Benitez had reached his sell-by date at Liverpool, says Dalglish

Kenny Dalglish said that it was right that Rafael Benitez left Liverpool in the summer and that he feels no sense of hurt that he was not chosen to succeed him as manager.

The Kelly Affair: Anatomy of a conspiracy theory

Claims that we have not been told the full truth about the death of Dr David Kelly have been circulating for years. This week, the fog of rumour thickened. Paul Vallely reports

Jeremy Hunt: Rough ride for the smooth operator

Culture, media and sport? A brief as wide as that and the risk of tripping up is ever-present, as the new man in charge has just discovered.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt apologises for Hillsborough remark

Jeremy Hunt, the Cabinet minister in charge of government policy on sport, must go to see relatives of Liverpool fans killed in the Hillsborough football stadium disaster to apologise for implying that their deaths were the result of hooliganism.

Benitez gives £96,000 to Hillsborough families

As Internazionale announced his appointment as their manager, a visibly emotional Rafael Benitez was meeting families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster, to whom he donated £96,000.

Village People: The mark of a good autobiographer

Lord Mandelson has promised that his forthcoming memoirs will "ruffle some feathers". He ought to have a good story to tell because he has been around for so long and has held so many important political jobs, but let us hope he remembers that the best anecdotes are those that mark someone's character strongly.

The ripple effect: A tasteful water feature has the power to turn even a tiny plot into a tranquil oasis

We all like the thought of water in our gardens – a pretty pond, with dragonflies hovering above water lilies; the soothing sound of flowing water; a cool, deep pool reflecting a clear sky. But somehow, the words "water feature" don't conjure up such idyllic images. Instead, we think of artificial rock formations or noisy fountains gushing from ugly fixtures; faux monoliths or carefully balanced urns dribbling into each other. Frankly, Charlie Dimmock has a lot to answer for.

Leslie Carrick-Smith: Community spirit will be invaluable for those coping with the shooting trauma

The trauma: Experiences like this tend to sharpen people's sense of their mortality; how quickly life can be wiped out
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
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The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
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The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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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
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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