Sport Didier Deschamps' France side face a tricky first leg in Ukraine

The clash of giant egos is in Lisbon, the romance in Reykjavik, and the only previous winner under threat plays in Kiev, but perhaps the most intriguing European World Cup play-off begins on Friday night in Athens.

Burns seeks poetic justice beneath the Great Wall

An English driver finally emerges from shadow of Colin McRae confident of China Rally success.

EMI plugs into Net venture

THE MUSIC group, EMI, yesterday unveiled a key plank in its strategy to build an Internet presence by acquiring a 50 per cent equity interest in musicmaker.com, a private US Internet supplier of compilation music, writes Bill McIntosh.

Letter: Kosovo: no lectures from China, please

Sir: A propos of embassies being accidentally bombed, the Austrian embassy, in Belgrave Square, London, was one of the early casualties of the Blitz - poetic justice! Not long before the war it had been completely redecorated by Harrods at enormous cost, which included yards of gold leaf. My father-in-law was foreman of the job.

Music: The righteous sister

Lauryn Hill is stealing hip hop back from the menace of gangsta. How? By steeping herself in the history of black female divas. It's not just about rap; it's a battle for the soul.

Author's pounds 5m bequest provides poetic justice for Oxford University

THE CONTROVERSIAL world of Oxford poetry received a pleasant shock yesterday with the news that an eccentric, and mostly unread, British author has bequeathed pounds 5m to an Oxford college, to endow a fellowship specifically devoted to teaching students how to write poetry.

Markets: Down

EMI, the world's third-largest recorded music company, said first- half profit from operations fell 22 per cent to pounds 39.8m as recession in parts of Asia and a slumping economy in Brazil hit sales. The shares fell 10 per cent last week.

Down

EMI GROUP, the world's third-largest recorded music company, said first-half profit from operations fell 22 per cent to pounds 39.8m as a recession in parts of Asia and a slumping economy in Brazil dragged down sales. The shares fell 10 per cent last week. EMI, whose recording artists include Garth Brooks, Janet Jackson and the Beastie Boys, has been seeking partners. Speculation has centred on Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and Germany's Bertelsmann, which last week denied plans for a merger.

Pop: Red is the colour, bloodless the sound

REPUBLICA DINGWALLS LONDON

Books: Nice painting, shame about the wife

John Everett Millais, a Biography by G H Fleming, Constable pounds 20

American Times: Los Angeles - Rabbi of Venice Beach puts his faith in the stars

MOST SUNDAYS, you can find Rabbi Shlomo Schwartz among the tarot- card readers, fortune-tellers and incense-sellers on the Venice Beach boardwalk in Los Angeles with a booth of his own: "Jewish Astrology".

Pop Music: Nice song - shame about the show

JANET JACKSON WEMBLEY ARENA LONDON

Rock music: Janet Jackson gets lost in her own limelight

ONE DAY, Janet Jackson may rearrange her songs for piano and voice and schedule an intimate tour of the country's jazz and blues clubs, but it's safe to say that that day won't arrive until Madonna, Kiss, Jean- Michel Jarre and the cast of Beauty and the Beast: The Musical have done the same thing. More than anyone else in pop, Janet - she and I aren't quite on first-name terms, but on some posters she has dropped the Jackson - can be relied upon to put on an enormous theatrical extravaganza. If pounds 22.50 seemed steep for a ticket to her performance at the SECC in Glasgow on Wednesday, once you'd seen the mobile video screens, the surreal stage sets, the dancing troupe, the many costumes and the pyrotechnics, you wondered how she managed to break even.

Technology strikes a worrying note

CD copying and the internet are wreaking havoc, says David Brierley

Music: More Than Music

Publisher, car designer, actor, musician, the ever-fruitful David Bowie has just finished Everybody Loves The Sunshine with Goldie. Already the cameras are rolling for Bowie to star alongside Harvey Keitel in a Spaghetti Western called My West.
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All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf