News

Robber needed money for polio-stricken cousin's surgery

Gadget of the week - Pico-C USB drive, £380

For anyone still feeling flush despite financial failures, busted banks and reams of redundancies, this could be a great way to waste some wedge. It's an 8GB memory stick covered with a 24-carat gold. Tasteful it's not, but if you're still willing to spend the equivalent of £400 on a blinging piece of computer kit, then subtlety and moderation probably aren't your most obvious virtues. Hilariously, it comes with a chain so it can be worn as a necklace and is sold encased in a plush velvet presentation box. A golden USB drive is definitely God's way of telling you that you have too much money... www.supertalent.com

No time to be precious: Great costume jewellery

Move over it-bags – this season, costume jewellery makes the ultimate statement. The bolder the better, says Harriet Walker

Oh my Gok: Mr Wan reveals his ABC of catwalk style

When 20 teens took a crash course in styling from TV makeover guru Gok Wan, chaos and clashes followed...

Feast of flesh as Cavalli economises on fabric

Celebrities looking to grab the limelight on the red carpet can breathe a sigh of relief. After a few seasons of covered-up, romantic collections, Roberto Cavalli has returned to the "molto sexy" look for which he is best known, albeit with a lighter touch and no animal print. Perhaps the credit crisis has forced him to use less fabric, or maybe the designer could no longer repress his unofficial motto that if you've got it – and maybe even if you haven't – flaunt it.

Pendleton swaps baking cakes for sweet success

The near-unbearable pressure caused by rampant British track success could not deter the women's sprint star Victoria Pendleton from taking her country's seventh cycling gold medal yesterday.

How Do I Look?: Louise Trotter, Fashion director, age 39

Trench coats are my main investment each season; my wardrobe is full of them. I found this one on one of my weekly pilgrimages to Portobello Road in west London. I love to customise pieces, to make them personal to me. I took off all the old buttons on this coat and added odd vintage ones, mixed with a few taken from other outfits. Now it feels really special.

The Ten Best Pendants

Go for the glam with our choice of pendants

How do I look?: Ali Gabut Youngblood, Musician, age 25

I'm half black, half Philippino. I was born looking pretty unique. No one can ever tell what nationality I am. I play off that. I wear whatever makes me look thinner. It's hard to shop in the UK. I'll see something but it's always one size too small. In the States you get plus-sizes; there are a lot of happy chubby people there. I'm a UK size 16. People think I look great naked! Why bother wearing clothes at all?

Solomon Burke, Barbican, London

An empty, plus-size golden throne sits at the centre of the Barbican stage, surrounded by red roses and a black-clad band, including leggy violinists, a sprightly blind organist and a three-piece brass section. As they play "Amazing Grace", the lights dim and King Solomon Burke – as he likes to be known – is carried on-stage. Burke has never been a lightweight, but in recent years his obesity has confined him to a wheelchair. I assumed this might limit his performance. As the lights go up, I realise how wrong I was. There he is – all 30 stone of him – trussed up in a silver suit like a Christmas turkey, hollering like the preacher that he is, singing "Like a Fire" to the heavens.

Picture Post: Christina Onassis' diamonds

Now that fashion is moving away from cheap fixes towards enduring classics, wouldn't a 38-carat diamond pendant necklace , with an impeccable pedigree, make the perfect investment buy? Valued at £2.3m, it's part of a collection of gems once owned by Christina Onassis, late daughter of shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. Forty pieces from her jewellery box will be the highlight of a 230-lot auction at Christie's in London tomorrow.

Jury shown 'under age' R Kelly sex video

Prosecutors played the sex tape at the centre of R Kelly's child pornography trial in open court, just hours after opening statements in which they accused the R&B singer of choreographing and starring in a video featuring "vile, disturbing and disgusting sex acts" with an underage girl.

Book extract: Sway, By Zachary Lazar

Lazar's new novel offers a hallucinogenic glimpse into the dark side of the 1960s

Ice Land, By Betsy Tobin

The gods of Iceland, the Aesir, are under threat, along with Iceland itself. But the threats differ according to whether you are a god or a human. The gods are threatened by the coming of Christianity; humans by the angry volcano, Hekla. Freya, daughter of both the Aesir and their supernatural cousins, the Vanyar, must find the fabled necklace of Brisingamen, to change the fate of the island and of the world.

Kirsten Lea: Girls just wanna have funds

She was one of the most photographed stars on the Oscars red carpet last weekend – yet no one seemed to know what, if anything, the actress in the £1m necklace had appeared in. Jonathan Brown discovers the curious, gilded world of Kirsten Lea, super-rich wife and celebrity manquée
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links