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Actor is the third 'Marlboro man' to die from a smoking-related illness

The Streets of Babylon, By Carina Burman, trs Sarah Death

It's 1851 and Euthanasia Bondeson, the Swedish novelist, and her niece Agnes are in London, visiting the Great Exhibition. Euthanasia, the narrator, is self-centred, bullish and blessed with a talent for writing: ("The sun knew blood had been spilled during the night. Its gleam spread crimson across the sea, for the sun cared little for the horrifying deed that had been done"); while Agnes is "always getting lost. Apart from beauty, a certain silliness and the occasional bout of good common sense, it is her most prevalent characteristic." Unfortunately, Agnes manages to get lost.

Step Up 2 The Streets (PG)

Not so much a sequel to Step Up as a rehash: once again, a cross-the-tracks romance between breakdancing white trash and upper-crust ballet snob is enlivened by a smattering of gang violence and rather too many shots of young people spinning around on their heads.

You write the reviews: Laura Marling, My Manic and I EP (Virgin)

There's a gentle darkness to Laura Marling's songs that doesn't appear anywhere else at the present moment in music. It's a nostalgic darkness, harking back to the days of Joni Mitchell, Eva Cassidy and an early Beth Orton, all of whom resonate to an extent in Marling's music. But despite the musical remnants of the past, these songs are unmistakably modern. From lyrics about size zero in the opening track, "New Romantic", to the particularly apt references to binge-drinking in the closing track, "Typical", this is a folk singer writing for today.

Vice: The style magazine hasn't lost it insatiable urge to offend

These hip young things are celebrating the fifth birthday of a style magazine that now boasts its own record label, TV channel and even a pub. But with global success, 'Vice' hasn't lost its insatiable urge to offend...

AIM's sickly tiddlers swim against tide

The number of poorly companies fell last year amid favourable economic conditions in the UK.

Sale 28 Newcastle 5: Ripol doubles up as Sale cruise past hapless Falcons

Two tries to Oriol Ripol enabled Sale to power past Newcastle at Edgeley Park last night.

A new protest song: Joan Baez - she shall overcome

A veteran of 40 years of demonstrations, the American folk singer's latest campaign involves camping in a tree to save a 14-acre farm from the developers. Andrew Buncombe reports

Risk-taking is fine, gambling is not

Investing people's money carries huge responsibility, but the rewards are equally great

Paul Weller, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

A touch of genius can get this survivor out of a jam

Musical youth

Shortlist of 'eccentrics' for Mercury music prize

The runners and riders for the most prestigious prize in the music calendar were announced yesterday and were promptly branded a group of British eccentrics by the chairman of the judging panel.

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Kellie Bright as Linda Carter and Danny Dyer as Mick Carter

EastEnders Christmas specials are known for their shouty, over-the-top soap drama but tonight the show has done itself proud thanks to Danny Dyer.

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Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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