Money

Smaller companies have been a lucrative, albeit higher-risk, area to invest over the long term. The Numis Smaller Companies Index has, since 1955, achieved an annual return of 15.8 per cent compared with 12 per cent for the broader UK stock market.

Farmers Cross, By Bernard O'Donoghue

Embracing the ghost at cold comfort farm

Natalie Haynes: Night of the living metaphors

The thing is...

Dragons show the fire to take on top four

Catalans Dragons 31 Crusaders 18

Griffin powers through to end Dragons' fight

Huddersfield 30 Catalan Dragons 16

Horniman’s "merman" is papier-mâché fake

London’s Horniman Museum’s 19th-century "merman" has the snarling lips of a monkey and the swerving scales of a fish’s tail.

Dracula, By Bram Stoker

The protean creature that bounded in the form of "an immense dog" from the ship Demeter in Whitby in the late 19th century is now an unavoidable presence in cinema and TV.

1 in 3 'believes in guardian angels'

Nearly a third of Britons believe they have a guardian angel, a survey from the Bible Society and Christian Research claims.

Johann Hari: 2010 – the year a zombie army came for our brains

The city of Minneapolis has just agreed to pay $160, 000 in compensation to a group of zombies who were prevented from marching

Album: Former Ghosts, New Love (Upset The Rhythm)

New Love is the second album by Former Ghosts, a project led by a self-evident Joy Division fan called Freddy Ruppert but also featuring Phoenix-based nouveau-goth singer Zola Jesus and Jamie Stewart of San José avant-gardists Xiu Xiu.

Vampires Suck (12A)

But they don't suck as much as lame-brain parodists Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, already responsible for the likes of Scary Movie and Meet the Spartans.

Reckless, By Cornelia Funke, translation by Oliver Latsch

Fab fantasist weaves more magic

Cathy John: My diagnosis with MS has taught me the wisdom of 'gathering ye rosebuds while ye may'

Tolstoy once quoted an Eastern parable, which he felt summed up the three responses to the utter absurdity of life in light of the certainty of death.

The Phantom of the Open, by Scott Murray & Simon Farnaby

Which Open competitor remarked: "Everything was going according to plan until I five-putted from eight feet at the second?" Step forward Maurice Flitcroft, who in 1974 carded 121 in a qualifier, the worst score in the event's history. Which was hardly surprising, as he had never played a round in his life.

Dragons' move for Kear falls through

Wakefield have confirmed that their coach John Kear is staying with them – for another season at least – rather than joining Catalan Dragons.

Walters to leave luckless Dragons

The Catalan Dragons have become the fourth Super League club seeking a new coach for next season following Kevin Walters' decision not to take up the option of a third year with the club. The former Australian stand-off announced his departure after a meeting with the Catalans' chairman, Bernard Guasch.

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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
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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