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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Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine