Arts and Entertainment Damien Hirst,

Damien Hirst has today unveiled a new spot painting based on Disney character Mickey Mouse.

Racing: Martha's Son forced to retire

MARTHA'S SON, one of the best and bravest two-mile chasers of recent years, has been retired. Trained throughout his career by Tim Forster, Martha's Son has not raced since an injury in last year's Peterborough Chase forced him to pull up. Although severe muscle damage was diagnosed it had been hoped that he would be back this season.

Babies' four-year wait for adoption wait

MORE THAN half of children who are adopted were given up as babies but it takes on average four years before a new family is found, according to research published today.

Child risks poorly assessed

Child risks poorly assessed

Politics: Single parents get good deal

SINGLE parents who have taken up Labour's New Deal have more money in their pocket and are costing less to the state, according to the first figures released from the evaluation programme.

Letter: Where is our compassion for the most damaged children of all?

Letter: Where is our compassion for the most damaged children of all?

The Knack How to choose a nanny

The Knack

Letter: Child choices

I FIND it amazing that Suzanne Moore can take most of a page backing a single woman's right to have children, without once considering a child's right to have a father. It seems easier to me to argue for a child's right to two parents, than to support a woman's right to have a child without a partner, yet Suzanne Moore appars to place a woman's rights above those of a child's. I hope I have misinterpreted her position.

Letter: My moment of fame

I HAVE long been wanting to boast to a wider public that David Aaronovitch was my babysitter. Is now the moment? (letter, 24 March) Fame at last?

Letter: Children in care

WE loudly applaud Patricia Morgan's revelations and analysis of Britain's adoption system ("Social workers 'biased against adoption'", 23 March), if not all the recommendations for change. But, oh dear, oh dear, what of the reaction of such prominent bodies as the Association of Directors of Social Services and the British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering? They do nothing more than accuse, in familiar patronising manner, the accusers of being simplistic and misunderstanding the true nature of modern adoption.

Coroner gives solvent advice

A coroner yesterday urged parents to warn their children of the dangers of solvent abuse.

Letter: Access to abortion

Sir: Rather than making abortion easier, Mr Dobson should be promoting adoption as a positive alternative. There are thousands of couples who would give a good home to the babies who are being needlessly killed.

Letter: Nanny in the family

Sir: Charlotte Roberts had a live-in nanny looking after her children from 7am to 7.30pm each day, plus two nights a week babysitting ("Nanny on the bottle, parents in the soup", 8 January). Effectively, she was employing the nanny to raise the children on her behalf, with the tremendous emotional commitment this was bound to involve.

The gendergram: charting your childhood influences

There is a new personal peace plan to help warring couples, called the Gendergram, which can often bring the most entrenched hostilities to a halt. The idea is that most relationship battles revolve around the same territory because each one of a couple will be making unspoken assumptions about what the other is supposed to do, without even realising it.

Family affairs: Young single men struggle to be fathers

Young single men want to be good fathers to their children even when they do not live with them. But they face a range of barriers to do so, according to the Family Policy Studies Centre.

Letter: Long-term relationships

In "So you want a baby ..." (Real Life, 16 November) Emma Cook tells us that "Jane's" last long-term relationship ended at 35. Under-30s talk now of having had several "long-term relationships". What do they mean by that?
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Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast
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Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
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Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
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Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
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Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
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Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

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Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

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A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
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First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

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Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
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Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
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Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

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The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?