Voices

If you pay £6 to go to Prague on RyanAir, what do you expect?

Vickers seeks pounds 100m from medical sale

Vickers, the Challenger tanks to Rolls-Royce cars group, hopes to raise pounds 100m from the sale of its loss-making medical equipment businesses.

Prairie populist becomes leader of the opposition

Preston Manning becomes the leader of Canada's official opposition today, with his Reform Party taking an extra six seats to push ahead of the weakened Bloc Quebecois.

No, minister ... that's not how we do things here

Fran Abrams and Christian Wolmar find Whitehall trying to adapt to the wind of change

Election '97: Sir Denis ventures opinion on Major

Sir Denis Thatcher, husband of Baroness Thatcher, has delivered a characteristically blunt and embarrassing reply to a question about John Major's chances of winning the election. His one word response was: "nil", followed by a chuckle.

Win a trip to the Bafta awards

The creative worlds of television and film have become more and more business-like in their approach, as budgets have been squeezed and potential box office profits have been the deciding factor as to whether a project ever sees the light of day. Reflecting this trend, The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has joined forces with Expotel.

Bowl the ladies over

THE COLLECTOR COLLECTOR by Tibor Fischer Secker pounds 12.99

Time and negligence take their inevitable toll

For most of my adult life the benches on the Tory side of the House have been much better populated than those on the other side. Sometimes it has seemed as though they simply bred more, reproducing themselves election after election with a creepy fecundity.

Bruce's price is right

With the hedonistic Hollywood producer Don Simpson dead after a lifetime of drugs, sex, and more drugs, it was thought that Hollywood might finally consider taming its excesses. That doesn't mean that the town has to be ruthless in its frugality, mind. Who's going to be bothered about the occasional fleet of limousines or slap-up lunch? Or, for that matter, the odd pounds 24m cheque doled out to a stocky, balding middle-aged man with a paunch?

Edinburgh Festival: So who are the jokers in the pack?

Stand up and be counted: Mark Wareham checks out the talent at this year's comedy contests

Labour split on pay rise vote

Tony Blair's insistence on voting against massive salary rises for MPs and ministers has split his Shadow Cabinet into warring factions on pay and perks. The Labour leader has ordered a free vote on the issue for backbenchers and the 20 MPs who make up the Opposition Front Bench. But Gordon Brown, the Shadow Chancellor, and his three junior Treasury spokesmen will follow Mr Blair into the Government lobbies in the crucial Commons vote on Wednesday.

Burt Bacharach Royal Festival Hall, London

As comforting as shepherd's pie, Burt Bacharach's music is in the limousine class when it comes to easy-listening. It was appropriate that his two shows on Friday and Saturday were bedded in the strings and brass of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, who played with cool professionalism. The imported American rhythm section sounded a bit bright and noisy for some of the tunes, a disco-fied beat taking over here and there, and one might have wished for the soft swish of brushes on snares and a resinous upright bass. But this is how Burt must like his music to sound. He was regally in control of the proceedings, a wiry, silver-haired whippet of a man, picking up a beat from the piano or motioning the opposing forces of the orchestra into action with a seemingly combative conducting style. He is a showman who likes to be involved. When he sang, which was surprisingly often given that his voice is the kind of mossy croak that most composers seem to have been born with, he manhandled some of Hal David's most prized lyrics. It didn't matter, because it was an enjoyable idiosyncrasy in an otherwise blandly charming performance.

Echoes of OJ as judge lets footballer go free

There were shades of the OJ Simpson trial: a millionaire black American football player on trial for murdering his cousin.

Lie of the land

It may seem odd, but a lot of his friends and acquaintances are very upset that Paul Challis is not dying of cancer. Many of them (fans, probably, of all those movies that feature doomed lovers, with titles like No Time to Love, A Season in the Sun and Going, Going, Gone) had contributed to his pounds 4,000 wedding, the limousine, the champagne and expensive presents.

How to put a lid on a coffin's cost

Funerals can be expensive, but there are economical options.
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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...