Arts and Entertainment Mel B is confirmed as a judge for the next series of America's Got Talent

Could Mel B be to America what Nicole Scherzinger is to Britain?

If you really wanna put some spice into fashion

World domination continues as the Spice Girls put their name to a range of clothes.

Charts

Those oh-so-sassy young things, the Spice Girls, continue to zigazig their way to the bank, monopolising the New Year Number One spots. But with competition like this collection of Christmas leftovers (Fugees apart), who can complain?

Letter: Keep Spice Girls away from Dad

Sir: What do The Independent and our father have in common? The Spice Girls! ("Spice Girls vote Thatcher the new leader of their band", 13 December; letter, 14 December) What is happening to what has always been regarded in our family as a serious paper? Now, every morning, our father, who is a source of embarrassment at the best of times, quotes long, mostly boring facts about the Spice Girls, and how it must be right because it is in The Independent.

LETTER : Selfish Spice

Sir: It is an interesting facet of modern pop music that the Spice Girls , even though their songs are so tame and unchallenging, wish to be seen as selfish, arrogant, brutal and, ultimately, stupid. ("Spice Girls vote Thatcher the new leader of their band", 13 December)

Spice Girls vote Thatcher the new leader of their band

It would be difficult to imagine Baroness Thatcher in hot pants, a spandex vest and patent-leather thigh boots, but yesterday that is precisely what we were invited to do.

Speaking up for the right to abortion

Political and personal silence on abortion speaks volumes for how the new wave of pro-lifers have hijacked media attention

Girl power: who's buying it?

Raunchy music by girls, `filthy' books by girls ... They call it the new feminism, so why is it aimed at 7-year-olds instead of grown-up women? Eleanor Bailey reports

Irresistible charm of five girls and the biggest turn-on of all

Last night, five women performed a task reserved each year for statesmen, Oscar winners and the regulars of celebrity gossip columns, yet only a few months they were unknown.
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there