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.

The Thorny question of valuation

The proposed break-up of Thorn EMI has been talked about for so long that if, and when, it is finally announced next week the sense of anti-climax will be palpable. But with Sir Colin Southgate reliably expected to set the ball rolling with Tuesday's third-quarter figures, attention will really start to focus on what the demerged parts might be worth.

PolyGram makes it an eighth year of growth

ROGER TRAPP

The bride and groom wore lavender

Some marriages are made in heaven ... but who did Cary Grant and Elton John think they were fooling?

Too casual to take the limelight

Rock

Once upon a time in South Central LA...

The American cinema - like Molire's bourgeois gentilhomme - has been speaking prose for most of its adult life: it moves within a narrow naturalist mode that's hard-pressed to accommodate high flights of lyric fancy. Unlike the art of the painter, the novelist or the musician, a poet's fragile miniaturism doesn't lend itself to the broad strokes of the big screen; it might work, just, in an arthouse film - Cocteau's The Blood of a Poet, say, or Tom and Viv, but in the multiplex it risks sounding pompous and hollow.

Just one big happy family

Rock

A case of poetic justice

Paul Muldoon won this year's T S Eliot Award. An Irish plot? An establi shment fix? No, says Michael Glover

Key players and bit-parts

Whoopi Goldberg (above)

The post-Janet emperor of yoof: As Channel 4 mops up the audience, BBC Television's new head of youth programmes searches for hits and Street-Porter cred. Steve Clarke reports

John Whiston, BBC Television's new head of youth programmes, has a profound regard for his maverick predecessor, Janet Street-Porter: 'It's very hard to think back to pre-Janet days. It's like before Christ.'

Wales awaits poetic justice: David Lister on the film of a writer's life up for an Oscar

THE EYES of the world will be on stars such as Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis at the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles in eight days time. The eyes of Wales will not.

Mean streets

(First Edition)

COMEDY / Poetic justice: John Hegley has extended his repertoire. Mark Wareham reports

Poetry can be a terrible burden for the stand-up comedian. Many's the performing versemonger who has fallen into the gutter, bloodied and bowed, after attempting to tell a joke. Apologetic to the point of embarrassment, they introduce themselves along the lines of, 'Er, right, we'll get the poems out of the way as quickly as possible and then you can have a good laugh with the other acts.'

York on Ads: No 8: Hi-Tech

UNTIL, say, 1991, the training-shoe sector was the hot one for advertising- agency creatives who wanted to show their leading-edge stuff for the youth market. But in 1992 the searchlight moved to computer games as training- shoe sales and profits hit the slide.

Out of Japan: Poetic justice for a life blighted by sickness and war

TOKYO - 'Not many people could write this book,' said Toshiharu Oseko, without a trace of immodesty. Mr Oseko has published an annotated English translation of 330 haiku poems written by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), Japan's most famous poet. It took him seven long years - remarkable considering the haiku has a set length of just 17 syllables, giving him a translation rate of 2.2 syllables a day. But Mr Oseko, 64, is nothing if not thorough.

Rap star accused after sex attack: Woman claims young singer 'rewarded' his friends by forcing her to be sexually assaulted by them

THE HARDER black rappers try to rise above the violent and sexist images some of their songs project, the more they are pulled down by life, real or imagined.
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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...