Sport

Conventional racing wisdom has it that speed, rather than an abundance of stamina, is the most important attribute in a potential King George VI Chase winner, hence the proliferation of specialists over shorter distances than three miles lining up at Kempton on Boxing Day.

The odd twinge of regret, but no sign of <i>mea culpa</i>

In his memoirs, Donald Rumsfeld owns up to a few unfortunate jibes but refuses to take the flak for Iraq

Ballabriggs clears small obstacle on the way to Aintree for McCain

It tells you everything about the way his career is going that winning a race with the John Smith's Grand National favourite at Ayr yesterday was just a prelude to the main business of the week for Donald McCain. Ballabriggs, after all, was essentially just keeping out of trouble as he won his second novice hurdle of the campaign, pending a return to fences after the publication of the Aintree weights a fortnight today. And his flourishing trainer has a rather more earnest assignment in mind for the unbeaten Peddlers Cross, who warms up for the Stan James Champion Hurdle on Saturday.

Pandorama '50-50' for Gold Cup

A Gold Cup is the very least Noel Meade might consider sufficient redress for his misfortunes, over the years, at Cheltenham. With seven weeks to go to this year's Festival, however, there was an alarming sense yesterday that Pandorama must overcome the same malevolent forces that have confined one of Ireland's most accomplished trainers to just three winners at the meeting.

Palin limps in fourth in key Republican activists' poll

Sarah Palin may want to express-freight her sled and dogs over to New Hampshire where support for her as the Republican nominee for president turns out to be tepid verging on chilly, according to a first poll taken in the electorally critical state this weekend.

McCain challenges gays in military

A leading Republican senator yesterday claimed a US military study on gays was flawed and that letting them serve openly would be dangerous in a time of war.

Embattled McCain faces down family rebellion over gays in the military

John McCain, the recently re-elected US Senator, army veteran and former presidential runner, appears to have quashed a political mutiny – not in the ranks of the Republican party, but within his own family.

Rupert Cornwell: This civil war spells only bad news for the US in the long term

The US faces huge challenges best settled by compromise and bipartisanship. These are anathema to the Tea Party

Diary: Oprah hope for Franzen

Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom, this column's favourite Great American Novel of the past six months, had a famous falling-out with Oprah Winfrey in 2001. Winfrey invited Franzen to appear in her influential Book Club with his previous novel, The Corrections, but pointedly withdrew the offer when he was quoted elsewhere, saying he feared her endorsement would deter the male half of his desired audience, and sully his book with a "corporate logo". Oprah's ire didn't stop Franzen selling 2.85 million copies of The Corrections – in fact, it probably helped. Seasoned Winfrey-watchers assumed there was still bad blood between them when September's issue of her magazine, O, failed to feature Freedom in its "10 Titles To Pick Up Now". Yet it seems she might just have been delaying her forgiveness: citing "reliable sources", literary blogger Dennis Johnson claims Oprah has selected Freedom for her new Book Club list, due to be unveiled on Friday. Not that Franzen needs the help these days; the book already tops the New York Times and Amazon bestseller lists.

As Sarah Palin's star rises, critics expose her dark side

In public she is the family woman in touch with ordinary Americans. But two new accounts allege that in private she's a two faced, mean-spirited bully

Rupert Cornwell: Rage will not win the Republicans the White House

Out of America: US voters are in mutinous mood, but by fanning the flames now, the right risks missing the prize

McCain survives Arizona primary challenge

In the end, John McCain won handsomely. But another sitting Republican Senator was facing defeat yesterday, after another round of US primaries underlining the dangers facing incumbents in November's mid-term congressional elections.

Battler from Bow is clearing all obstacles

Perri Shakes-Drayton aims to continue her rapid progress at Crystal Palace with 2012 the long-term goal

Obama shares sofa with TV's daytime divas

With his approval ratings diving and the outlook for his party in November's mid-term elections dimming, President Barack Obama shifted into campaign mode yesterday as the guest on The View, a daytime talk show with five co-hosts including Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters. It went pretty well until the Jersey Shore question.

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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