The latest stories and all the transfer rumours on Thursday 8 January

Opinions: Do you prefer a pub or a wine bar?

JEFFREY BERNARD, journalist: I prefer pubs. Wine bars play the bloody Four Seasons in the background all day long and the people who go to them are awful - advertising people, producers of TV commercials. Pubs have a better mix of people and they are for drinking in, not sitting around talking business.

Travel: Joyeuse unbridled, via Leicester Square: In the second of our series on France, Paul Newman delights in the freedom of self-catering in the mountainous Cevennes

OUR holidays to France always begin at the same place. Not at the hoverport at Calais, or the airport at Nice, but at a shop near Leicester Square in the centre of London. A trip to Stanfords map shop at least a month before we set off has become such an enjoyable ritual that I have come to regard it as part of the holiday itself.

A bloke's life: Stephen Frears served his time at the BBC, made a few right-on films, and then got drawn into the dreamy, golden world of Hollywood: big budgets, big hair, valet parking. He now commutes on a grand scale, and hangs out with Geena and Anjelica. This makes him, what? Unsound? A traitor to the cause? Or just a bit jammier than the British can bear?

'HERE, LOOK]' Stephen Frears said, pretending to be awe-struck. 'Here's my producer] A real-life, Hollywood producer]' We were loitering on the pavement outside his house in Notting Hill Gate: Frears was unshaven and dressed, much as the actress Glenn Close once described him, 'like a stadium after the game'. He was about to have his picture taken. On the other side of the road, a taxi had just drawn up, and a harassed-looking woman with a blonde crop was getting out. This was Laura Ziskin, producer of No Way Out and Pretty Woman and Frears' latest film, Accidental Hero. She wore round, green-tinted spectacles, with customised, green-tinted flaps.

Casino robbed

A casino in central London - the Napoleon Club in Leicester Square - was robbed by two men masquerading as police officers. After showing fake warrant cards, they produced handguns and escaped with an undisclosed amount of money.

Coales' Notes: Hitting bottom: A week in the art of Gordon Coales

TUESDAY: This is definitely interesting, though best not to have any feelings in advance.

Allied Leisure in pounds 12m cash call

ALLIED Leisure, the bowling hall and nightclub operator, has joined the growing list of companies asking shareholders for money. It has launched a rights issue to raise pounds 12m.

Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest

(Photograph omitted)

Derwent Valley remains cautious

JOHN BURNS, managing director of the London property investor Derwent Valley Holdings, remains deeply pessimistic about the sector, despite posting interim profits up 29 per cent.

ROCK / Rai, smiles and the devil's croon

ALGERIAN superstar Khaled is not too sexy for his shirt: he's too sexy for his homeland. He lives in Paris, where his dissolute lifestyle - incorporating a fondness for a drop of the hard stuff, and not being ashamed to live with his girlfriend - is less contentious. There are commercial reasons too for his exile; and the French music scene, as we never tire of reminding ourselves, is not exactly awash with charisma.
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A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
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Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
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Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
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Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
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Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
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Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

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The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

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My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
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Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
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From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot