Extras
 

From Furbys to robotic puppies, there are lots of fun, innovative and educational toys in the shops this year. Kate Hilpern picks the ones the kids (and big kids) will love

Return of the gun on wish list for Santa

In these recession-hit times, parents may be relieved to hear that the "Dream Dozen" Christmas toys all cost less than £100 this year. However, eyebrows in some households may shoot skywards at the news that one of the toys bears more than a passing resemblance to an AK-47 assault rifle.

The Bargain Hunter

j.hall@independent.co.uk

Business Diary: A crack in Lego's brick wall

Bad news for Lego, the Danish toy manufacturer with which the world has grown up. Its bricks – specifically the most basic 4x2 block – have long been protected by European trademark law, preventing rivals from offering similar products. Now the European Court of Justice has upheld a complaint from Canada's Mega Brands, the maker of Mega Bloks, that trademark protection can't be extended to a shape in this way. There's no room for sentimentality in the courtroom.

Lego loses trademark battle

The Lego brick, one of the most instantly recognised toys in the world, cannot be trademarked, European judges have ruled.

EU judges rule out Lego trademark

The Lego brick, one of the most instantly recognised toys in the world, cannot be trademarked, European judges ruled today.

Leading article: Viking explorer

The Danish pastry, when you come to think about it, is really just a croissant with a bit of icing on top. There is something of similar delightful simplicity about the rocket which, if the wind is in the right direction, could soon make Denmark only the fourth nation in the world to send a man into space.

Dad's Diary: 'A festival's a perfect place for a child when the weather's fine'

By the time you read this, I'll be sat in a field with my partner and son, Krishan, celebrating his third birthday in Cornwall. We decided to head to the coast for a bit of rest and relaxation after our second festival of 2010.

Malcolm Gladwell: I wanted to be an academic but then I realised that academics are hedgehogs and I am a fox

Malcolm Gladwell is the New Yorker essayist who has also published three best-selling, non-fiction books: The Tipping Point, Blink and The Outliers, but not Jamie Does, which is by Jamie Oliver and is a celebration of food from six different countries. Wake up!

Outside Edge (18/04/10)

What is it about IT workers? One of them, Steve Edwards of Bourton on the Water in Gloucestershire, ran his first marathon in 1981 after a bet over a few pints. He vowed never to do another but last weekend he completed his 500th race in Connemara. Then there's Roberto Enrieu, an IT consultant from Coventry who lost 25 stone in order to take part in next Sunday's London Marathon. He slimmed down from 42 stone and a whopping 66-inch waistband. And a third computer nerd, Paul Scrivener of Writtle, Essex, veteran of 120 marathons, was bemused to be hurting so badly after finishing a race in Newmarket until he was told he had been running with a broken leg. Software and tear.

Manhood for Amateurs, By Michael Chabon Fourth

These essays about modern parenting and childhood sparkle with wit and insight

The Icelandic toy story

Gudjon Reynisson has stayed on at Hamleys despite the collapse of its parent. James Thompson meets him

Still building after all these years: sales of Lego soar

Star Wars sets boost turnover but traditional Lego sells well too

Lisa Markwell: When there are streets to roam...

What children get up to after school plagues parents' imaginations
Career Services

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect