News Gerard is one of the younger residents of James Turner Street in Winson Green

The West Midlands Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner has been a James Turner Street landlady for almost 12 years

Travel: Passport - 'Being a VIP gives you no special treatment'

My latest project has been the making of Planet Ustinov, a TV film in which Sir Peter Ustinov travels along the same route as Mark Twain did in his book, Following the Equator.

Navy sent to aid Honduras

IT WAS the sort of news kids love to hear, but it is a further blow for battered Honduras. The government announced yesterday that all schools and colleges will be closed well into next year as a result of Hurricane Mitch. Hundreds of schools and colleges were destroyed, or are under water or mud after the storm rampaged through this Central American nation last week. Those education centres that survived are now providing shelter for hundreds of thousands of people who lost their homes.

West is urged to waive debt

RICH NATIONS should consider writing off the debt of Central American nations devastated by Hurricane Mitch, Emma Bonino, Europe's Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, said yesterday.

Fishing Lines: Bitten by the land of Knud

WHENEVER I am seasick, I think of Knud Holst. It was on his boat in Ecuador that I enjoyed eight merry hours of seasickness. It was like dying, only worse. Knud was very sympathetic. He offered me a bloodstained, fish-smelling towel to rest my head on as I lay inert. A nice gesture, though it didn't do a lot for my seasickness.

Television Reviews: Hooked and Horizon

I GAVE UP eating sweets in 1976 (ugly threats from a sadistic dentist), so Hooked (C4), focusing on the addictive qualities of chocolate, was a bit outside my experience. Beautiful elderly ladies confessed to a lifelong habit while the kindly tones of the ubiquitous Zoe Wannamaker gave us the history of British chocolate. This involved a lot of monochrome Playschool-style footage of enrobing machines churning out chocolate bars and shots of old Cadbury's wrappers. The cheap commodities of the Empire provided puddings for all: sago, tapioca and chocolate, which, until then, had been an exotic luxury. Manufacturers evolved an ingeniously complex message that sold it as a guilty but wholesome pleasure. Women, easy prey to a strategy that played on chocolate's dual role as a reward and a compensation, were particularly susceptible. Men soon got wise to this and the box of chocs became a commonplace payment for little sexual favours ("the boxes that single ladies get and that married ones dream of!").

Travel Long Haul: Things are stirring in the swamp

Florida's Everglades are a haven of indigenous culture and rare wildlife, but don't forget the mosquito repellent.

Science: The Truth About... Amber

AMBER HAS been admired for its golden hues since time immemorial. It is only in recent years, however, that the wider public has become aware of its unique fossil-preserving features, thanks to Hollywood's Jurassic Park, which depicted the fictional extraction of dinosaur DNA from a mosquito trapped and preserved in amber for millions of years.

The last laugh came all too soon

City Life NEW DELHI

Just another manic Tuesday

Fishing Lines

Study to offer first full view of global warming

WILL global warming be good for Essex, one thing weighed against another? We may soon have a shrewd idea. For the full picture of what climate change may do to Britain is to be assembled in what the Government says is the first study of its kind in the world.

Britain declares war on malaria

THE Government will today launch a multi-million pound global programme to combat malaria as part of a drive which could eliminate the deadly disease in 30 years.

Much to be thankful for but much to do in the parish of St Kizitu

In the first of a series of articles before the G8 meeting in Birmingham, Paul Vallely reports on Third World debt

Letter: Mosquito bikes

THERE is nothing "green" about those motorcycles that can be heard screaming like a swarm of angry mosquitoes from at least a mile away. If government is to listen to the bikers' lobby and make changes to the law to encourage the use of motorcycles (photograph, 1 April) then it must also outlaw the machines that make our lives a misery. Noise can be as damaging to health as other sources of environmental pollution.

Travel: I searched India for the meaning of life, and then I discovered first class

COP A load of this: I am writing from a moving Indian train. Even as I type this sentence,the baking, dusty plains of central India are shuddering past my window. The tea-wallah has scarcely raised an eyebrow. How the world has changed in the last 15 years.
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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
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried