News

Retailers enjoyed a "spectacular" Christmas, official data showed, with total sales growing at their fastest rate in years.

The News Matrix: Wednesday 3 October 2012

Plan for 'poor' to go to private schools

The Jimmy Savile abuse scandal means men across Britain will sleep uneasily, remembering past 'conquests'

Instead of faux-outrage and arse-covering about history, I’d be happier to hear strident plans to protect and listen to young women in the future. More of that, please

The Metro front page showing women removed from Ikea images

Ikea airbrushes women from its Saudi catalogue

Swedish furniture giant criticised for removing images in bid not to upset Arab customers

Winckler's Wacky World: All ears

Did Deep Blue have a bug?; why men bond with 007, bin head, magic allergy-curing cow, holocaust tattoos and Ikea: not so ethical, after all.

Step into my office

More of us are working from home than ever before, but it doesn't have to mean documents on the dining table or conference calls over the cornflakes.

My Edinburgh: Mark Watson, Comedian

I've been to the past thirteen Edinburgh Fringes as a punter, student, director, aspiring stand-up, actual stand-up, 24-hour marathon man and - my current incarnation - jaded old veteran. There are various tricks you learn, when you've been in the game as long as I have.

Ikea to launch budget hotel chain in Europe

Best known for its budget flat-pack furniture, Scandinavian retailer Ikea is planning to launch a chain of budget hotels in Europe.

'Are you a Gypsy?' Ikea tells camper van owner that Travellers are barred from its car parks

Furniture giant Ikea has been caught up in a racism row after insisting it was lawful to employ security guards to stop Gypsies entering its car parks.

Ikea aims to provide all the features of a home entertainment system, but without the fuss

Design: Tangled cables be damned

Ikea's foray into the world of home entertainment is not just an attempt to change the market, but it could also spell an end for that most modern of problems – dastardly cable tangle.

<p>1. GLTC Fire Engine Toddler Bed</p>
<p>£124, gltc.co.uk</p>
<p>Few toddlers can resist a fire engine, so what better way to persuade them that bedtime is fun?</p>

The 10 Best children's beds

Sweet dreams, whether they're in a bunk cot or with an MP3 docking system

Ikea accused of using East German political prisoners to manufacture furniture

The Swedish flat-pack giant Ikea is today reeling from potentially scandalous allegations that it used scores of political prisoners in former communist East Germany to manufacture its affordable furniture products in the years leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Julian Baggini: Is Osborne's dad worth a £19,000 desk?

The one thing you would never do at the desk Sir Peter Osborne has his eye on is write at it

Ghostly: The dining-room is a whiter shade of pale

Adam Simmonds, Danesfield House Hotel and Spa, Henley Road, Marlow-on-Thames, Bucks

Late-night visitors to Marlow have often been shocked by the chilling apparition of the Grey Lady of Danesfield Park, a solemn-faced ghost holding a lantern, who glides around where the chapel once stood, before disappearing. We had a broadly similar experience on driving into the hotel grounds – seeing the chilling apparition of Danesfield House, a great white whale of a late-Victorian Gothic folly looming in front of you like Moby Dick. It's an extraordinary sight, with its tall chimneys, its clock tower and elaborately terraced gardens, and it carries an air of melancholy – the result, perhaps, of too many owners, speculators and changes of use. It was built in 1899 by the heir to the Sunlight soap fortune, who sold it the moment it was finished. It housed evacuees in the war and was requisitioned by the RAF. It was once home to the Hellfire Club of Medmenham, a bunch of crazed desperadoes from the nearby village. Since 1991 it's been a hotel. And in the past four years, it's picked up a reputation as home to one of the country's finest chefs, Adam Simmonds.

From Pasty Tax to Bubbly Tax: After a strange week in the news it wouldn't be at all surprising if readers fell for this Daily Mail effort. It claims: 'The Government is planning to mitigate the damage caused by adding VAT to pasties by introducing a new ‘green’ tax on chilled champagne.' - and quotes, amongst others 'Frank Beers', MP for Theakston South...

Were you fooled? The best of the April Fools' Day jokes

The newspapers have outdone themselves with an eclectic collection of April Fools' Day japes, but were you taken in?

<p>1. John Lewis Winter Snow Goose Down</p>
<p>£150, johnlewis.com</p>
<p>A supremely comfortable pillow using down from geese native to Russia's glacial mountains.</p>

The 10 Best pillows

1. John Lewis Winter Snow Goose Down

£150, johnlewis.com

A supremely comfortable pillow using down from geese native to Russia's glacial mountains.

Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
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Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
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Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
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Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
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Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
musicKate Bush asks fans not to take photos at London gigs
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Day In a Page

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
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment