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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Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada