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.

John Walsh: Yes, Tom Stoppard, it was me laughing

How do you make torture entertaining? How do you stage terror, infanticide, brutalisation and extraordinary rendition in a way that leaves your audience uplifted and in the mood for a drinks party? That's the problem that faced the Human Rights Watch organisation at the weekend, as they staged their benefit night at London's Royal Court Theatre. Rather than relying, as they have in previous years, on the reportage of individuals (which can be a recipe for earnestness and gloom), the organisers commissioned several mini-dramas from famous playwrights and actors, under the umbrella title The Laws of War. I checked the programme: there were nine events – an hour and a half of gruelling statistics and savage political satire, before we could hit the free wine. "Enjoy," said the ticket-tearer. I scanned her face for signs of irony.

Rhiannon Harries: Health and fitness, fine. But what's with this modern-day obsession with perfect bodies?

What is the anti-smoking lobby going to do with David Hockney? There he was on last week's edition of The South Bank Show Revisited, in fine fettle at 72, sharp, energetic and talking extraordinary good sense. "I was sitting on a bench in Holland Park – watching the rabbits and the magpies," he recounted. "I lit up a cigarette and three great big girls go jogging by, see me smoking and wag their fingers at me. They think they're very healthy – they're totally obsessed with their own bodies and never saw the rabbits or magpies. They think they're healthy, but I think I'm healthier. That's my odd view of it."

Dame Mary Marsh: 'People thought I was mad'

The new chairman of London Business School's international alumni council tells Peter Brown what her MBA has meant to her.

Mark E Smith - A renegade's revival

Over 34 years, Mark E Smith has led The Fall through numerous upheavals. Tim Cumming talks to the frontman as he prepares to release Your Future Our Clutter, an album that stands, miraculously, among the band's best

Opera podcast: Opera Holland Park's new season

The auditorium has risen once more, the box office is open and busy, and the peacocks are warming up – Opera Holland Park is gearing up for the new season.

Leighton House Museum, Holland Park, London

Glorious Orientalism – but it stops at the bedroom door

Claud Wright: Senior civil servant who was also a leading expert in geology, palaeontology and archaeology

In the War Office there were a lot of old fossils. But the one who was the real fossil was Claud William Wright. He was not only a senior administrative civil servant, and when transferred to the Ministry of Education the first Permanent Secretary, in effect, to Lord Eccles' Ministry of the Arts under Margaret Thatcher, but also from an early age, a leading geologist, palaeontologist and archaeologist.

Hidden treasure: London's Leighton House is about to re-open after a £1.6m facelift

The 19th-century President of the Royal Academy, Frederic, Lord Leighton spent 30 years creating his very own "Private Palace of Art" on the edge of west London's Holland Park. It wasn't straightforward, but neither was his vision. Starting with a single house in 1866, designed by the architect George Aitchison under the watchful eye of the proprietor, the painter and sculptor Leighton slowly added a domed two-storey extension, which he stuffed with the most exquisite materials and furnishings the world's more remote regions had to offer. Three decades later, his labour of love was finally complete.

Philip Hensher: We have a right to know BBC salaries

If you work for the BBC, you are, like a lottery winner, allowed to tick the "no publicity" box

Bruce Anderson: Education is no place for idealism or egalitarianism

Have you heard the one about the journalist and the taxi- driver? It may sound like the stalest and most risible of clichés, but this time, it leads to an instructive story.

The long goodbye: What do Antonia Fraser's diaries of life with Harold Pinter add to the marital memoir?

Behind the celebrity froth of Fraser's diaries lies a tougher book about living and loving through adversity.

'My parents think I earn too much': (Well, he <u>is</u> the &#163;10m boss of RBS)

Bad enough having Britain's media bring up your £10m pay package every time your employer is mentioned – but the real problems for Stephen Hester start when he gets home.

La Boh&egrave;me, Royal Opera House, London<br/>Melvyn Tan, Wigmore Hall, London

This dusty, busty dowager is only propped up by tradition

David Randall: Is 'variety' not quite Ma'am's cup of tea?

Why light entertainment so rarely gets a gong

How to write a memorable song lyric

How do you come up with the perfect words to fit a killer tune? Rob Sharp learns from Don Black, the songwriting master who penned some of the best-loved lyrics of the past 50 years
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Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before