News New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie visited Florida this weekend, on a trip likely intended to boost his profile as a potential presidential candidate. Instead, the scandal-plagued Republican arrived in the Sunshine State under a cloud. On Saturday Dawn Zimmer, the Democrat mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, claimed in a television interview that two of Christie’s close aides had threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy relief funds from her city if she continued to oppose a major property development plan backed by the Governor.

Trainer Willie Mullins and rider Paul Townend put the finishing touches to Hurricane Fly’s preparations at Cheltenham yesterday

Take Hurricane to lead Mullins one-two

After he teed up a record 13 winners in 2011, the Irish once again send their best National Hunt performer of recent seasons to lead the assault on the opening day of the Festival. Hurricane Fly appealed as a good bet for the Stan James Champion Hurdle last year; and, for any who heeded the counsel of his jockey, he briefly became good value when eased in the betting on account of a delayed reappearance. After that breathtaking resumption at Leopardstown in January, however, he is a short price to retain his crown today. Anyone having a bet must either be comfortable with those odds, then, or seek out some each-way value.

Small blessings: Look out for the tiny buds of spring

Spring’s big-hitters are around the corner. For now, it’s the turn of the mini marvels

UK enjoys unseasonably mild weather

The recent cold snap was a distant memory for parts of England today as temperatures reached more than 18C.

Beazley upbeat despite profit dive

Profits tumbled at the Lloyd's of London insurer Beazley last year, but its chief executive Andrew Horton still reckons it was a "strong performance in the worst year on record for insured natural catastrophes".

Grands Crus is unbeaten in three starts over fences this season

Grands Crus to test Gold Cup terrain on Festival trials day

On the day when British horseracing measured its resilience against recession, publishing record attendances in 2011, racegoers were given every incentive to get the turnstiles clicking again at Cheltenham on Saturday. Entries made yesterday for the Festival trials card appear to guarantee at least one new favourite for the real thing, in March, with the three horses sharing the top of the JCB Triumph Hurdle market all lined up for a dress rehearsal. Even so, no race will be more instructive than the Argento Chase, perhaps the last opportunity to prevent the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup becoming another straight duel between Kauto Star and Long Run.

Album: Portico Quartet, Portico Quartet (Real World)

Following the excellent Isla and the replacement of their hang-player (looks like a wok, sounds like a steel drum) by keyboardist and new hang-man Keir Vine, Portico move even further away from conventional notions of jazz into full-on Ravey Davey Gravy-land.

City of the Dead, By Sara Gran

A damp squib down on the bayou

Album: Spotlight Kid, Disaster Tourist (Tri-Tone/PIAS)

If you're going to name your band after a Captain Beefheart album, you'd better make sure you're pretty damn good - or pretty damn weird, at least.

UN predicts more rainfall and heatwaves

Heatwaves will be longer, hotter and occur more often, and rainfall will be heavier during the 21st century because of global warming, a new UN report on climatic "extreme events" said yesterday.

Mark Leftly: Weak coalition ducks decision on bank reform

What neither advocates of banking reforms nor those that oppose them wanted, or needed, was for the detail of the next regulatory framework to be uncertain.

Louisiana prepares for 20 inches of rain as Lee storms in

Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Lee were falling in southern Louisiana and pelting the US Gulf Coast yesterday as the storm's centre trudged slowly towards land, where businesses were already beginning to suffer on what would normally be a bustling holiday weekend. With floods from the storms of last weekend's Hurricane Irene still evident in New England, Lee could bring up to 20 inches of rain to some areas.

100,000 flee as storm reaches Chinese coast

More than 100,000 people have been evacuated and hundreds have had their homes destroyed after Tropical Storm Nanmadol reached land in China early yesterday. Water surged past tidal barriers to bring the Qiantang River in Zhejiang province to its highest level in 10 years.

Christina Patterson: Let's keep 'faith' out of politics

People who are keen to bring faith groups into politics are often the ones who don't know all that much about faith

UK has its coolest summer since 1993

This summer has been the UK's coolest since 1993, provisional Met Office figures indicate.

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Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

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