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?
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
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Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick