Arts & 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)?
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environmentGardeners rally round the endangered bumblebee
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
musicBest exclusives coming to an independent record shop near you this Record Store Day
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel Shop See all offers »
Classical Spain
Classical Spain
Six nights from £569pp Find out more
Pompeii
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples
Seven nights from £799pp Find out more
Spring Breaks
Spring breaks with dinner
Two nights from £64.50pp Find out more
London Theatre and Hotel breaks
London theatre and hotel breaks
One night and ticket from £84pp Find out more
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit