News Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and ex-wife Mariam Aziz, pictured in 1999

A former international badminton player who became a bodyguard and close friend to the ex-wife of the Sultan of Brunei abused her position to steal diamonds worth £11.6m from her “extremely wealthy” employer, a court heard yesterday.

Politics: MP aims to lower gay sex age limit

AN EQUAL age of consent for gays, lesbians and heterosexuals was backed by a Labour MP and her gay son yesterday - ahead of a Commons vote that is expected to push the reform through next month.

US Masters Golf:The middle-aged strike back with mellow O'Meara

MARK O'MEARA finally capped a model professional career by winning his first major championship at the age of 41. His first US Masters title came at the 15th attempt, longer than anyone else who has achieved the feat has had to wait. He was helped into his green jacket by Tiger Woods, the young genius he befriended when last year's champion set out on his professional career.

Letter: Too many mayors

IT SEEMS that London is destined to have two Mayors - or rather a Lord Mayor and an ordinary one. Of course, the former's patch is only the Square Mile and his duties largely ceremonial, but try explaining that to visitors from abroad. Any title - Governor, Director, Chief Executive, Lord High Panjandrum - anything but Mayor and this farcical confusion could have been avoided.

Letter: Myth of media choice

TONY HALL, Chief Executive of BBC News (letter, 4 March) bangs on about the myth of "choice". Most people don't need choice in the media.

My Rough Guide: Enjoying the sunset at a ruin with a view

Best discoveries

Letter: Classic gas-guzzlers

Sir: David Roots (letter, 7 January) calls for classic car owners to be compensated for the withdrawal of leaded fuel. I was under the impression that they were already receiving compensation: they don't pay road tax on these fuel-hungry, noisy, outdated cars.

Airport sex pornographers escape jail term

Children these days may have seen many things, but holiday-makers should not have to run the risk of stumbling across a couple having sex in the airport car park. This was the judge's verdict, reports Clare Garner.

Blue movie-makers descend to Level 3

They were the kind of scenes one can safely say were denied viewers of Airport, television's fly-on-the-wall documentary series. A bunch of builders and staff at Heathrow airport could scarcely believe their eyes when they came across a blonde porn star laid semi-naked across a car bonnet in one of the airport car parks.

Letter: Gas vapours

Sir: One can but welcome Nelson Cunnington's concern for scientific literacy in environmental matters (Letters, 11 July). In the same spirit of accuracy, one should record that water vapour, in common with virtually all tri- atomic gases, is, in fact, a powerful greenhouse gas.

FACTS AND FIGURES

Houseboat prices vary immensely nationwide, says the marine agent Virginia Currer (01753 832312) who has Fighting Spirit (see article) on her books at pounds 36,000. "It's very difficult to quote a boat price. For example, I've got an ex-canal lighter in Islington for pounds 30,000 for a 10- year lease; a wooden ex-Admiralty picket boat on the tidal Thames at Isleworth for pounds 22,000; and a 93ft Dutch tjalk barge at Hoo in Kent for pounds 63,000."

Pigments of the imagination

Turner's secrets lay in his art, not his heart, argues Jan Marsh; Standing in the Sun: a life of J M W Turner by Anthony Bailey, Sinclair- Stevenson, pounds 25 Turner: a life by James Hamilton, Hodder & Stoughton, poun ds 25

Golf: Tiger back in his natural habitat

US Open: Year's second major is likely to bring the best out of the world's best as he continues to prey on history; Andy Farrell detects a threatening pattern as the Masters champion prepares for a rerun

How drug gangs dupe 'mule' girls

Ian Burrell hears a father's plan to free the jailed daughter he says was an unwitting cocaine courier

More talent, more hostility

To the tabloids they're `Blair's babes' - but women MPs have real skills to offer, says Fran Abrams

Letter: Tactical defeat

Tactical defeat
Career Services

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
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?