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

Lego loses trademark battle

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

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.

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
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The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
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Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
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Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea