Arts and Entertainment Sherlock Holmes portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC series

A long-running legal battle in the United States could change the way Sherlock Holmes and other characters are portrayed in future books and films

Convicted murderer US police released by mistake is found watching television

Police have recaptured a convicted murderer they freed by mistake at a northern Illinois home where he was found watching TV.

In Illinois there is now a ban on sex offenders from dressing up as Santa during festive celebrations

No more Santa costumes or shark fins: Weird US laws come into force

The budget laws that threatened the US with billions in tax hikes weren’t the only ones that were due to come into force in the new year, with some 400 state and local measures ranging from the sensible to (at first glance) the sublimely ridiculous also taking effect on 1 January.

Newtown massacre: Victim's boyfriend was to propose at Christmas

Rachel D'Avino, a behavioural therapist working at Sandy Hook elementary who perished along with 25 other victims shot at the school would have received a marriage proposal on Christmas Eve, a friend has confirmed.

Page 3 Profile: Jesse Jackson Jr, US politician

Has the apple fallen far from the tree?

Richard William McBride, poet and writer

Dick McBride: One of the last of the Beat poets

Dick McBride was a poet of the Beat Generation who acted as a literary bridge between the United States and Britain, bringing the writings and spirit of the Beats to this country. In books and in performances of his own works and those of fellow writers, he sought to broaden awareness of the poets who had made such an impact on American writing.

Ryder Cup Diary: Support from the sky fails to spur on Team Europe

Another great sporting event, and another shrewd piece of marketing by bookmakers Paddy Power, after the infamous "pantsgate" at the European Championships, when Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner showed his rather garish green Paddy Power boxer shorts to the world in celebration after he scored against Portugal. This time, the bookmakers have taken to the skies with a plan to give Team Europe some away support at the Medinah course, and attempt to silence those vociferous, red-blooded Americans.

Editorial: A lesson from golf about Britain in Europe

The ongoing crisis in the eurozone may appear to confirm the direst prognostications of the sceptical fringe; but pro-Europeans need look no further than the Ryder Cup for evidence of where Britain's interests really lie.

Nicolas Colsaerts needs to finish in the top two to earn his debut against the US in Illinois next month

Colsaerts on course for Ryder Cup place

Nicolas Colsaerts cleared the first hurdle towards gaining the last automatic spot in Europe's Ryder Cup team by firing a three-under 69 in the Johnnie Walker Championship first round at Gleneagles yesterday.

Food costs to soar as US drought bites

Corn, soya bean and wheat harvests all suffer as extreme weather decimates American crop

The Pale King, by David Foster Wallace

Although it lacked a final polish before the author's suicide, The Pale King is still a hilariously melancholy masterpiece, and more welcoming to new fans than his vast Infinite Jest.

DVD/Blu-ray: The Sting (PG)

Robert Redford and Paul Newman repeated the chemistry they established in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with this hugely enjoyable con-man caper from 1973.

Three winning tickets will share the $656 million prize

Win the lottery? More chance of being struck by lightning

A Kansas man has revealed that hours after buying three tickets in last week's Mega Millions lottery frenzy that swept America, he was hit by lightning, proving the adage about how hopelessly small the chances are of winning.

Three split world record $656m lottery jackpot win

America was a nation plunged into disappointment yesterday as all but three citizens realised their raids on the penny jar to buy tickets in a lottery with a jackpot of $656m (£409m) had come to nought.

Mitt Romney widens lead with victory in Illinois

Mitt Romney last night solidified his aura of inevitability in the race for the Republican nomination by easily away putting away the Illinois primary, showing strength in a heartland state and the home of President Barack Obama.

Romney calls for rivals to concede

Mitt Romney faces an important test in Illinois tonight, with the former Massachusetts governor pinning his hopes on a win in the latest round of the Republicans' presidential nominating contest.

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Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
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Former ‘Daily Mirror’ editor Piers Morgan
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Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
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Actor Burt Reynolds last year
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Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
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The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
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The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game