Arts and Entertainment Damien Hirst,

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

Lone parents told to co-operate with Child Support Agency or lose benefits

Lone parents may be refused all benefits relating to first-time claims, unless they agree to co-operate with the Child Support Agency, under plans being considered by ministers.

Letter: Birthday badge

Sir: This afternoon I bought a birthday card for my granddaughter, including a badge with the figure 2 on it. Unwrapping the card I found a warning inside which read: "Not suitable for children under 36 months."

Letter: Slowing down for children

Sir: May I, through your columns, thank the anonymous parents of Laura, Tracy, Adam, Andrew, William and Donna ("Poignant video that says: speed does kill", 8 May).

Lesbians and gays 'share' test-tube baby

A lesbian couple and a male homosexual couple are raising a child conceived between them by artificial insemination, it was revealed last night.

The accelerated approach - a quick guide

Children cannot learn if they feel stressed or threatened. The classroom must be a warm and welcoming place.

Letter : Tax policy pressures mothers to work

Sir: You report (22 April) on the dilemmas of working mothers and (24 April) on the growing practice of placing babies under three in nurseries. Full Time Mothers supports mothers who choose to spend the early years of their children's lives at home. This often entails sacrifice for such mothers. In addition to financial problems, many feel isolated and diminished in status. We receive a constant stream of letters, saying how glad an individual is to find that she is not alone in her situation.

LETTER: Abuse scandal: when child care is tangled in red tape

Sir: It is not only in residential homes that abusers are active ("Paedophiles `control children's homes' ", 22 April). Adverts for holiday playscheme staff attract replies which get no further once we ask people to sign the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act form. This is all we can do since the Crown Prosecution Service is so reluctant to prosecute because of the belief that people with learning disabilities will not be able to give evidence in court, either as a witness or victim.

Letter: Dummies for brilliant babies

Sir: My son has an honours degree in English and philosophy, an MA in English and in his spare time is studying for a master's in media studies.

Cash-conscious children play safe with pennies

Today's children know a nice little earner when they see one. Instead of frittering away their weekly pocket money they now prefer to build capital, according to figures published yesterday, writes Nicole Veash.

Cash payout for sex abuse bungle

Four families whose children were taken from their homes at dawn by social workers during a bungled sex abuse investigation in 1991 yesterday accepted undisclosed damages and costs and a formal apology from Orkney Island Council.

Doll guide in black and white

Nurseries should have dolls of different "skin" colours and hair types, the Commission for Racial Equality says in guidance published today.

Jack and Jessica top name lists

Jack and Jessica were the most popular names for babies born in 1995, according to a report yesterday.

Death fire verdicts

Death fire verdicts

LETTER: Parents who are loved and lost

From Dr Brian Herd

Letters: Most men are like Lucy

GOOD grief! Women considered irredeemably evil for the slightest transgression? Men, whatever they have done, including child-killing, quite quickly forgiven on all sides? How did Lucy Ellmann get away with saying these things so baldly, without hiding behind phrases such as "dysfunctional families'' or "inadequate personalities'', as most people choose to do ("The world would be just perfect without women", 13 August)?
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Independent Travel
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
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas