Arts and Entertainment Emma Thompson arriving for the National Board of Review Awards in New York

The actor Emma Thompson has spoken out this week in favour of gender-blind casting, admitting her particular desire to play the role of Sherlock Holmes.

Arts: Women on the verge

Advice to actresses in Hollywood: don't age. But as Michelle Pfeiffer turns 40, are female stars the only casualties of film's obsession with youthful beauty?

Motor racing: Doubt cast on Imola surface

Oreste Dominioni, the lawyer defending Frank Williams, the Formula One team owner charged with manslaughter after the death of Ayrton Senna, yesterday raised doubts about conditions at the Imola track.

Naughty parents? It's the children who are to blame

Everyone must by now be aware that Patricia Morgan of the Institute of Economic Affairs believes young children should never be allowed out of the house, and that they should be cared for, as in the old days, by their terminally bored mamas.

What kids want and what they get

Clothes and crisps, toys and fizzy drinks, fast food and magazines - and cigarettes, alcohol, lottery tickets, video arcades, drugs. The children's economy is booming, in ways good and bad. Six children, from a child film star to11-year-old Sam, pictured in the bedroom of her council flat, tell us of their lives. By Lesley Gerard. Photographs by Christine Sullivan

motherhood

Is the mother as great protector a misplaced ideal? Meg Carter reflects on the 'dingo baby' and ...

Kevin Kline: a real smoothie

They wanted Gerard Depardieu. They settled for Kevin Kline. And they got more than they bargained for. By Sheila Johnston

Every which way but looser

THE CRITICS CINEMA

Brief encounter of the third kind

Clint Eastwood's latest film shows you can be high-minded and satisfy your carnal desires - flies and all. By Adam Mars-Jones

Film : CLINT EASTWOOD INTERVIEW National Film Theatre, London

Before Clint Eastwood arrived in person on Tuesday night, the audience was treated to three clips from his films: the scene in The Outlaw Josey Wales where Wales treats with the Indian chief ("Dyin' ain't so hard for men like you 'n' me. It's living that's hard"); the big shoot- out from Unforgiven ("You shot an unarmed man." "Well he shoulda' armed himself"); and the scene from In the Line of Fire where Eastwood's old secret service hand is chaffing his woman colleague about the tiny number of women agents ("Pure window-dressing").

Signs and wonders

Film-makers are discovering sign language - but, says David Nicholson, the deaf are still more seen than heard

LEADING ARTICLE: The naked truth about America

In the long history of American conmen, WH Sheldon last weekend emerged as the most triumphant. It was revealed that, in the course of his career, this discredited academic had amassed a collection of 27,000 nude photographs of Ivy League students . The snapshots, which presently lie in dust in the vaults of the National Anthropological Archive in Washington, were taken during the Fifties and Sixties and include compromising studies of some of the greatest and best of American society.

CLASSICAL MUSIC / Upbeat: Out of Africa

WHEN the first black opera company in Britain launched itself last month, queues were turned away from the one performance. The Black Swan Theatre and Opera Company has now reassembled the cast of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas for a second show on Monday, again at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn. On the strength of the night we reviewed, expect a staging with no frills (but bright colours), African drumming at the beginning and for the curtain calls, and a lively atmosphere in the house - above all, some fine voices that you probably won't have heard in opera, the point of the whole exercise. Tickets pounds 5 from 071-328 1000; start time 8pm.

Underrated: Sharing the joke: The case for 'Last Action Hero'

It doesn't pay to be too clever.

Law Update: Out of Africa

Lester Aldridge, one of the top ten law firms in south England, has just completed a trading mission to South Africa. Its intention was to develop strong trading links and to attract new business to the UK, and the firm has received a number of immediate instructions. It has also set up a scholarship for a South African candidate attorney (trainee solicitor) to spend four weeks at its offices in Bournemouth.
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A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
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Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Antoine Griezmann has started two of France’s four games so far
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor