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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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...