Arts and Entertainment

There is a certain pleasure (however smug) in being ahead of the curve when spotting a particularly gifted writer, and a certain regret when the masses catch up with your discovery. The latter, of course, is the state desired by author and publisher, and Peter May has now made the transition from connoisseurs’ taste to popular bestseller.

Inquiry begins into death of child in neglect case

An independent inquiry began yesterday into the death of a girl aged seven alleged to have starved to death at her home.

You write the reviews: Fram, National Theatre, London

Tony Harrison's Fram is long and mind-knottingly complex, but it is neither self-indulgent nor superfluous. It is one of the most stimulating, engaging and extraordinary evenings on offer. Its message is simple: it asks what role the arts can play in a world where illegal immigrants fall from their hiding places in the wheel bays of aircraft, and four-year-olds starve to death in the Russian famine. So the beautiful ballet that Viviana Durante dances and that so many critics have complained about has to be performed in its entirety, juxtaposed as it is against the gritty realism of starving Russian children. The frills of a verse drama are necessary in the same way: the play needs a lack of realism, it needs to be elaborate in the way that the ballet is elaborate, to question its place in the world. The layers at work are extraordinary: we are constantly made aware that we are in the National Theatre watching actors playing actors putting on a play watching a play.

Taylor Wimpey profits hit by mortgage famine

Taylor Wimpey, the UK's biggest housebuilder, added to the gloom descending over the nation's housing market yesterday after it revealed falling profits and gave a pessimistic outlook for the rest of the year.

Sir Geoffrey Cox

One of the most searching examples of Geoffrey Cox's integrity as a human being, writes Paul Trewhela [further to the obituary by Leonard Miall, 4 April], came in the early 1930s when Cox measured himself against one of the most complex issues of the day, differentiating his own perceptions from those of a close colleague at Oxford University, the young Bram Fischer, later to become chairman of the illegal South African Communist Party and leading counsel in the defence of Nelson Mandela and his colleagues in the Rivonia Trial of 1963-64.

Rising prices threaten millions with starvation, despite bumper crops

There has never been anything remotely like the food crisis that is now increasingly gripping the world, threatening millions with starvation. For it is happening at a time of bumper crops.

Radio: The Things We Forgot to Remember, Radio 4; Longing for Silence, Radio 4

It takes Michael Portillo to remind us how lucky we are

Condoleezza Rice: 'The President's heart aches to see people in need'

From remarks made by the US Secretary of State en route to Alabama to visit areas struck by Hurricane Katrina

Miles Kington: Those who think Albanian, talk Albanian

How cruel to give a man a clock when he retires. Much kinder to give it him when he joins the company

Niger's agony spreads to her neighbours

Sahel in crisis: Food aid is trickling in, but agencies warn that three other countries in the region need immediate outside help

I don't know how to describe five million starving kids any more. I'm sick of it myself

Two decades on, rock star turned entrepreneur returns to Africa as 12.6 million more face starvation because of droughts
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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor