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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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen