Sport

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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
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Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
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Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

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Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

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'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before