Life and Style

The annual electronics fair has kicked off once again with all the oddities a geek could wish for; see below for pictures of some of the best gadgets so far

Senator fights to switch off bright lights of Vegas sex trade

What happens in Vegas... could be about to get a tiny bit more respectable. Heated debate has broken out among the good citizens of Nevada after their best-known lawmaker, Senator Harry Reid, called for an end to the free-wheeling libertarianism that has made it the only place in America where prostitution is legal.

Leading article: Spot the mongrel

In any other walk of life, Fiona, also known as "Grand Champion Fiacre's First and Foremost", would have a cast-iron case to sue for discrimination. But in the world of walkies, other rules apply.

Vegas casino calls on thief to cash in chips

Las Vegas casino bosses are serving notice to the bandit who stole $1.5m (£972,000) in chips from the Bellagio: try to redeem the chips worth $25,000 soon or they will be worthless.

ME 'virus' was actually a lab mistake, study says

A virus that was believed to be the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as ME, has turned out to be a laboratory contamination that could not have caused an infection in humans, scientists said yesterday.

$1.5m in casino chips taken in daring Las Vegas heist

An armed bandit escaped on a motorcycle today after stealing at least 1.5 million dollars in casino chips from the Bellagio resort in Las Vegas and may have pulled a similar caper across town less than a week ago, police said.

Republicans: Tea Party extremists go down in flames but centre-right thrives

It was always going to be a dry old do, since the host is a teetotal Southern Baptist. But it was impossible to escape the feeling of deflation which swept through the ballroom of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas late on Tuesday when Sharron Angle, darling of the Tea Party movement, saw her bid for the US Senate roundly rejected by the voters of Nevada.

Lawyers loom to take 'nastiest race ever' deep into overtime

You could still see the odd person in fancy dress staggering home through Las Vegas yesterday morning, after what had presumably been extremely-convivial Hallowe'en celebrations, but heaven forbid that they should have tried to enter a polling station to vote.

Four-foot long cat breaks world record

A US cat broke the Guinness world record for the world's longest domestic cat.

The 10 Best Ski Panoramas

You'll feel like you're on top of the world in these spectacular settings, says Patrick Thorne

Album: Brandon Flowers, Flamingo (Vertigo / Mercury)

Killer flees to Las Vegas for a solo roll of the dice

Pardon my French: Actor Jean Reno speaks out on his compatriots’ attitude towards American cinema

Sean Bean – he's mean. Depardieu – can't remember his lines. And don't even get Jean Reno started on his countrymen's hypocritical attitude towards Hollywood...France's favourite actor opens up to Rhiannon Harries

Dom Joly: The problem with surfing in LA is that the water's really cold

Weird World of Sport: There's a queuing system and woe betide you if you try to jump it... man

Lean On Pete, By Willy Vlautin

Over the course of three novels, and many albums with his band, Richmond Fontaine, Willy Vlautin has mapped out his own territory. It's a version of the American West in which the principal cities are the gambling town of Reno, Nevada and the steel town of Portland, Oregon. Vlautin's version is about as far from the tourist brochures as you can get. He unearths a world Steinbeck would have recognised: a place of flophouse motels and fading racetracks, where the American underclass still resides.

Shady Lady seeks male escorts with staying power

A Nevada brothel is recruiting to take advantage of a law change and offer services to women clients

Leading article: Chronic neglect

The symptoms are disabling tiredness, irritable bowels, intense headaches, depression and cognitive dysfunction. Yet for years many doctors argued that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome didn't exist. They refused even to dignify it with the name previous sufferers preferred – Myalgic encephalomyelitis. ME, they said, was just "me" writ large and dismissed it as yuppy flu. In the event the flu has lasted longer than the yuppies did. Some four million people suffer from it in the United States alone.

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Independent Travel
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
South Africa
Spain
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