News Arms deals fixer Ziad Takieddine has been refused entry to Britain

A controversial fixer for arms deals linked to an alleged corruption scandal that engulfed Nicolas Sarkozy has been refused entry to Britain.

Matthew Norman: Who says there's no use for Gordon?

The PM has turned into a human landfill site for his party's toxic perceptions

Coming Soon: Obsessive love is in the air

The narcotic beauty of Die Tote Stadt (pictured) sets the tone for a season of music inspired by obsessive love. Opening 27 January at the Royal Opera House, London (020-7304 4000), Willy Decker's Salzburg Festival production of Korngold's opulently scored opera represents another chance for British audiences to assess the "Viennese Puccini", though they won't have to wait too long for the real one.

Passed/Failed: An education in the life of the actor Christopher Timothy

'The head grossly disapproved of me'

Kensington and Chelsea

Secondary School Tables 2009

Lives Remembered: Roger Frith

My father, Roger Frith, was one of the most talented theatre lighting designers of his generation. He was born in Streatham, south London on 1 June 1939, and grew up in Histon, Cambridge, where he attended St Johns School. When he showed early promise as a puppeteer, his parents formed the Rogoli Puppets, which became a successful puppet company. At 17, Roger toured the country with Hogarth Puppets. He regularly operated puppets on children's television, including Muffin the Mule, which he operated on live television from Alexandra Palace.

Classical Music in 2008: Did no one else think Barenboim's Beethoven Cycle was overrated?

Among the operatic high notes of 2008 was the notion that small is beautiful. Netia Jones's thrifty multi-media Acis and Galatea, sung to single strings under Christian Curnyn in Wilton's Music Hall, was beguiling, and Jo Davies directed an enchanting Cunning Little Vixen for the Royal College of Music.

Editor-At-Large: Sex on the beat – indecency gets a slap on the wrist

We know the police are fed up with the amount of paperwork the job now entails, but they seem to have a pretty weird idea of how they should be spending their time. At a time when we're increasingly concerned about anti-social behaviour, new guidelines being given to senior officers seem to imply that they should ignore some indecency offences.

Lives Remembered: Gerry Sanderson

Gerry Sanderson, who has died aged 55, was the classic English eccentric, whose talent was as deep as his love of life. His frequent balls and bashes, he declared, were the perfect antidote to the often clinical, calculating world of architecture in which he made his name. The party venues were his own country homes – Bucklebury Place in Berkshire and The Manor House at Petty France, Gloucestershire, which featured as a hotel in the film Four Weddings And A Funeral (Hugh Grant hid inside the wardrobe in Gerry's own room). From his impression of Ursula Andress's Honey Ryder in Dr No to a Heroes Ball get-up as John Lennon in Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club garb, there were few extremes to which he would not go in search of the craic.

DJ Taylor: You talkin' to me?

The Bottom Line: Our commentator roots around in politics, radio, TV and literature and unearths a seething mass of resentment – except for that very nice Mr Bragg, of course

Pandora: Opik puts himself through a spin cycle

In his current attempt to garner some form of political credibility, Lembit Opik is dipping into his own pocket in the hope of succeeding Simon Hughes as President of the Liberal Democrats.

From dotcom fortune to a £12m repossession order

He made a pile during the internet boom, lost it when the bubble burst, but then rebuilt his finances. Now Robert Bonnier seems to be in trouble again – forced to give up a west London mansion in what may be the biggest repossession in British history. By Jerome Taylor

Iolanta, Opera Holland Park London<br />La Gioconda, Opera Holland Park, London<br />BBC Proms (1,6 and 14), Albert Hall/Cadogan Hall, London

It was an afterthought for Tchaikovsky, but his 'Iolanta' has been reworked as a gripping sexual psychodrama

'Leave him for dead,' killers shouted as they fled stabbing

The killers of Frederick Moody, Thursday's victim of knife crime in London, fled the scene shouting "leaving him for dead", witnesses said. The teenager was stabbed in the stomach just yards from his home in south London.

Tosca, Opera Holland Park, London<br/>The Magic Flute, Opera Holland Park, London<br/>The Cunning Little Vixen, Britten Theatre, London

Two operas at Holland Park: one thrilling and faultless, the other a joyless muddle

The Magic Flute, Holland Park, London

Can there be better credentials for directing Mozart's opera than having played both its composer and librettist? Simon Callow is a man of many trades, but his thoughtful staging seemed to bear that theory out. Designed by Tom Phillips with a painterly eye for zestful colour, this is Opera Holland Park at its most resourceful. Granted, the singing is often more about promise than fulfilment, and losing one's Papageno on opening night must have been unsettling (bird flu?), but honesty, good sense and a ready wit are prime attributes for any Magic Flute. When the Three Ladies arrived to deliver Tamino from the humanoid serpent, their 1940s haute-couture set the tone. Could this be the first Magic Flute in which the serpent has been dispatched with lethal-looking hatpins?

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