Life and Style

At the risk of straying into territory staked out by my more lurid male counterparts, I once saw a strip bar in Nashville with a neon sign outside advertising '99 Beautiful Girls! And One Ugly One'. They can get away with that kind of playful hucksterism down in the American South. Here, outraged punters would be demanding refunds and invoking the Trade Descriptions Act.

The News Matrix: Wednesday 9 January 2013

Starved girl's siblings sue city's council

The BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall

Review of 2012: Classical

Northern Ireland Opera toured with the unsettling adaptation of the Henry James ghost story, and Simon Rattle thrilled us again

League round-up: Posh stun leaders as Gayle hits

Leaders Cardiff City's perfect home record, 10 wins out of 10, came to a shuddering halt against struggling Peterborough United in the Championship's biggest shock so far. Michael Bostwick's free-kick midway through the first half and Dwight Gayle, on-loan from Dagenham, put Posh 2-0 up two minutes into the second half. Rudy Gestede pulled one back with a minute left, but Posh held on to win 2-1.

Jamie Oliver sued by factory worker over 'pink slime' slur

Beef Products Inc former employees sues Oliver and others after losing his job

The Pompadour by Galvin, Caledonian Hotel, Princes Street, Edinburgh

Not many famous London-based chefs have put their names over restaurant doors in Scotland. Apart from an ill-fated Glasgow venture involving Gordon Ramsay, I can't think of a single one. Ambitious empire builders are far more likely to be found opening in the Emirates than in Edinburgh. So the arrival of the Galvin brothers, Chris and Jeff, in a grand old hotel in the Scottish capital, is an interesting development.

A half-time summary of my game of life

Last week I turned 45. That means that, best-case scenario, I'm halfway through life. That's a weird thought. My life so far has been a rather varied and extraordinary affair. I was born in Beirut and spent a charmed childhood in the hills above the Lebanese capital, making the occasional jaunt into the Syrian desert. Then came the civil war and everything changed.

Market Report: Melrose dips as momentum slows

Engineering firms topped and tailed the benchmark index yesterday. There was a contrast in fortunes for IMI and Melrose.

Seven fake Hurricane Sandy pictures you're sharing

Extraordinary images of Hurricane Sandy are going great guns on social media - but some of the most famous are fake.

Ex-teacher Brian Knowles avoids prison over abduction of 15-year-old girl

A former deputy headteacher has been spared jail after admitting abducting a 15-year-old pupil and taking her out for meals.

Editorial: It's hard work being a millionaire

When Frank Sinatra and Celeste Holm sung "Who wants to be a millionaire?" in High Society, their assumption was that getting hold of a million dollars primarily meant the chance to give up the day job. More precisely, it meant wallowing in champagne and riding a supersonic plane. That, and "having fancy flunkies everywhere", of course.

Cycling: Former aide of Lance Armstrong claims she was used as a 'drug runner'

A former aide of Lance Armstrong has alleged she was used as a “drug runner” during her time working for the US Postal team.

Ashley Cole is 'misunderstood' says former team-mate Martin Keown

Martin Keown knew from the first moment he clapped eyes on Ashley Cole the defender would stop at nothing to achieve his aims.

Gary Neville at St George's Park

Gary Neville urges England to think the worst ahead of San Marino encounter

England's players were due to meet up for the first time at their plush new HQ in Burton with coach Gary Neville admitting the best way to prepare for Friday's World Cup qualifier with San Marino might be to scare themselves by wondering what would happen if it all went wrong.

Once we grew all our own vegetables, now I hang my head in shame at the weeds…

It's been a ropey old year down on the farm. When I retired from London life 10 years ago, accompanied by a copy of The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and romantic dreams about self-sufficiency, I was full of hope for a new dawn. Never again would I visit a supermarket. All eggs would be laid by our hens. Organic vegetables would spring forth from the garden. Home-brewed ale would comfort the evening and I would chop wood and cart muck every afternoon. The smell of freshly baked bread would fill the kitchen and the children would run free in the fields. The vulgar world with its television talent shows and mobile phones would not disturb our Epicurean retreat.

Top award for academy that helps youngsters

An academy that trains thousands of underprivileged youngsters to work in restaurants and hotels has been crowned winner of an awards scheme that recognises the highest standards of social responsibility and employee engagement.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own