Sport

So near and yet so far, Britain’s Olympic sailing supremo Sir Ben Ainslie, four golds and a silver, had to give best to the first Italian winner of the Argo Group Gold Cup, winner of the penultimate Alpari World Match Racing Tour grand prix, Francesco Bruni.

Boy seriously ill after gang's knife attack at school

A 14-year-old boy was seriously ill in hospital last night after he was attacked at school with a large knife, possibly a machete. The youth was set upon by a gang of about the same age - one white boy and four of oriental appearance - outside the gates at Kidbrooke School in Eltham, south-east London. He suffered head injuries and was taken to the Royal London Hospital in east London where his condition was serious but stable.

Hockey: Nevill on look-out for talent

The traditional youth tournaments hold the stage this weekend, with pride of place going to the women's Under-21 territorial event at the Milton Keynes National Hockey Stadium from today until Monday.

Mandela - the myth made man and face of a struggle

Independent Decade

A bad case of group dynamics

ON OR ABOUT DECEMBER 1910: Early Bloomsbury and its Intimate World by Peter Stansky, Harvard pounds 18.50

Not such a golden opportunity

Offers of 'authentic antique' gold sovereigns are not what they seem, warns John Andrew

Theatre: The Prince's Play, Royal National Theatre

It's not perhaps the most tactful of times for the Royal National Theatre to be reviving a notoriously anti-monarchical French play and relocating it in Victorian London, with the calculated consequence that its philanderer villain is the future Edward VII, an ancestor of the present Queen. But The Prince's Play, stirringly staged in the Olivier by Richard Eyre, is much more than just a smack at monarchy. Ken Stott's magnificent central performance as Scotty Scott, music hall comedian and hunchback court jester to the Prince of Wales, ensures that you experience the piece as a tragedy and tragic heroes can never be pure victims.

Robert Cowan reviews two of the latest record re-releases

replay; Nielsen: Concertos etc Various artists (Recorded: 1936-1960) (Danacord / Discovery Records DACOCD 354-356; three discs); Elgar: Symphony No 2; Sospiri; etc BBC SO / Sir Adrian Boult (Recorded: 1934-44) (Beulah 3PD15)

BOOKS: All of a piece throughout

Christmas reading is often a matter of dipping into some thing light, and there is a huge range of anthologies available. Ben Rogers gives his verdict on some of the most enjoyable

Press watchdog warns Princess

A Prince's weekend: visit Granny in hospital ... set video for Monday night

LETTER : Forgotten peace monument

From Mr Selwyn Hodson-Pressinger

IN BRIEF: Royal eye operation

Royal eye operation

Extras to give backers edge

Forty per cent of today's runners at Royal Ascot are concentrated in one event, so the sensible approach for backers is to concentrate on the other five. The odds about them doing so, however, are only slightly longer than those on the Queen spending the afternoon in the Silver Ring.

LEADING ARTICLE:The Scouts tied in knots

Hands up, how many of you former Eagles and Owls can still recite the Scout law (let alone find your old woggle at the back of the sock draw)? The writer of this editorial (former Kestrels patrol leader, failed 12-mile hiker circa 1970) had even forgotten the oath - until, that is, it emerged as the most schismatically threatening form of words since the juicier bits of Labour's Clause IV.

Katie's collection

UP FOR SALE

When things were done better

EDWARD VII by George Plumptre, Pavilion £19.99
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us