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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University Edible Garden, Leeds – a sustainable garden in the centre of the university, passers-by can help themselves to the home-grown produce
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
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Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz