Arts and Entertainment

The Australian author of this lively collection of essays about language is an amiable guide to his subject. "Amiable" is, however, a stiff adjective to use when describing Julian Burnside, QC, who praises HW Fowler, author of A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1926), and Samuel Johnson for allowing their personalities to colour their writings about words. He mocks philologists for their dryness, dismisses "cherished superstitions" that remain popular with conservative querulists and describes an attempt to ban the use of "mate" from the Australian parliament in appropriately matey style.

Andy Burnham: In a lawless zone, we must protect the vulnerable

Young people – and today I am addressing 300 of them at the European Youth Parliament in Liverpool – might think this a contentious statement: I believe we should pay for music. I don't mean pay through the nose, as we did from the 1970s through to the 1990s, but the principle must be that we should pay something.

The Meaning of Life, By Terry Eagleton

Eagleton pre-emptively announces on page one that he's not a philosopher, but anyone tackling this subject is de facto a philosopher; the question is, how good? Eagleton indulges in some needlessly laboured analysis of terms, but is less interested in philosophical argument than in sticking it to his enemies, those pesky liberal humanists.

Leading article: This debate over abortion is unwanted and irrelevant

Perhaps the most striking feature of the debate on the second reading of the Human Fertilisation and Human Embryology on Monday was the large number of MPs who abstained from voting. Only just over half of those eligible to vote did so. It suggests that perhaps a large number of legislators have still to make up their minds on the wide variety of issues encompassed within the Bill.

Bruce Anderson: Boris Johnson is a libertarian, but he is not a Tory - and he's unlikely to last the course

He is a man without core belief: without a political or intellectual compass

Punctuation: does it matter?

In France, they complain that English writing style has killed the semi-colon; it’s too direct, they say. Two writers join a debate that has brought grammarians to a full stop

Johann Hari: We'll save the planet only if we're forced to

Do you check every item you buy to make sure it is green and planet-friendly? Do you buy carbon offsets every time you fly? Stop. It is time to be honest: green consumerism is at best a draining distraction, and at worst a con. While the planet's fever gets worse by the week, we are guzzling down green-coloured placebos and calling it action. There is another way. Our reaction to global warming has gone in waves. First we were in blank denial: how can releasing an odourless, colourless gas change the climate so dramatically? Now we are in a phase of displacement: we assume we can shop our way out of global warming, by shovelling a few new lightbulbs and some carbon offsets into our shopping basket.

Paperback: The Book of Love, by James McConnachie

Atlantic £8.99 (267pp)

Album: Black Mountain

In the Future (Jagjaguwar)

Rangers 1 Partizan Belgrade 0: Hutton confirms Rangers' top spot

Having already qualified for the last 32, Rangers struggled to lift themselves for much of last night's final match in Group A of the Uefa Cup. However, the incentive of avoiding third-placed drop-outs from the Champions' League groups in the next stage was enough for victory over Partizan, thanks to Alan Hutton's second-half header.

Kerb your enthusiasm: the world beneath our feet

Seriously, how hard can it be? You're a workman. You I need to climb into your manhole, so you remove the cover. When you are finished doing whatever it is people do in manholes (conducting vital repair work? hiding? fighting crime?), you emerge blinking into the daylight. You replace your painted or paved manhole cover so that it matches up with the rest of the street. You move on.

Babar Luck: 'I use brains - and fists'

Mixing soul, ska and punk rock, Babar Luck's music captures the growing pains of a British Asian. He talks to Phil Meadley

State pension age to rise to 68

A radical reform of the pensions system, including raising the state retirement age to 68, was announced today by the Government.

Ballack's £121,000 a week (after tax)

With an easy urbanity and an even more assured sense of confidence, Michael Ballack yesterday settled into life as the Premiership's highest-paid footballer by dismissing the merits of Manchester United over Chelsea and declaring his main aim in coming to England was to win the Champions' League over domestic trophies.

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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker