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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
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
News
The fall in the oil price will hit Russia hard, but is unlikely to personally affect the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin

It looks very much as though 2015 will be a good year for the world economy, after all – and, if it is, that will be thanks to the fall in the oil price. It won't be good for everyone and we have already seen the pressure it puts on the Russian leadership – though, before you conclude that sometimes there is natural justice in the world, remember that the people who are hurt are not leaders such as Vladimir Putin. Other oil- and gas-exporting countries are damaged, too, and I think we will see further fallout in unpredictable ways. But the net impact is strongly positive, more so than most commentators at present acknowledge. The winners far outnumber the losers.

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Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
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Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
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Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
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Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick