News Cyclists ride in central London where the proposed SkyCycle routes would be built

The proposed plans - designed to improve safety for cyclists - would cost over £200m

Foster heads capital project

The architect Sir Norman Foster yesterday won a competition to produce plans to make the tourist centre of London more "consumer-friendly". With a team of consultants, he will spend a year talking to everyone from tourists to taxi drivers who use some of the best-known parts of the capital.

French go slow over a bridge too far

Anyone from Britain who has driven the spectacular "alternative" route to the South of France, via Clermont-Ferrand, the Massif Central and the partially completed A75 motorway to Languedoc-Roussillon, had two reasons for rejoicing this summer. Plans for the last, key, section of the motorway - a viaduct to bypass the city of Millau - are in their final stages, and the contract for the project has been won by the British firm Foster and Partners.

Scents and sensuality

Whether photographing penises or pistils, Robert Mapplethorpe placed sexuality on a pedestal of almost sacramental significance. But what was he really trying to capture with his camera? Andrew Graham-Dixon looks beneath the surface images of the Hayward Gallery's retrospective, while, below, Serena Mackesy eavesdrops on public reactions to Wednesday's private view

Will Sir Norman Foster's building be the tallest in Europe, or just pie in the sky?

A 1,265ft kidney-shaped glass building which would be the tallest in Europe was unveiled yesterday as the architect Sir Norman Foster's vision for the bombed Baltic Exchange site in the City of London.

Public divided over futuristic V&A extension

The public is bitterly divided over whether the futuristic extension to the Victoria and Albert Museum should go ahead, the museum's own survey has discovered.

Creativity Bring me sunshine through your similes.

Spiral staircases (or "helicoidal risertreaders" as Maguy Higgs insists is the correct terminology) brought us a rush of ideas concerning helter-skelters, corkscrews for very large wine bottles or visual aids for explaining the DNA molecule. Mrs K O'Rourke thinks it would make a "lovely DNA double helix for the Cerne Giant. Then everyone would know how he originated." Ms Higgs, however, uses them as filing cabinets for circular letters.

Creativity: One for the woad after a pitch invasion at Euro 96 BC.

"This Euro 96 thing is taking up a whole month of the sporting calendar," Stuart Cockerill complains. "Wouldn't it be simpler to stick all 16 teams in the middle of Stonehenge, allocate each a pair of goalposts and leave them to get on with it for 90 minutes or so? The victorious manager could then preside over the ritual slaughter of the vanquished and we'd all be home before sunrise."

Creativity: Gut feelings about an exchange of paunches

Paunches, according to John Donnelly, are not what boxers throw in a Loyd Grossman commentary. He believes the true derivation of the term has something to do with a medieval husband and wife chat show called Paunch and Judy.

Whitehall's machinery needs an overhaul

Say Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee were contending for power instead of John Major and Tony Blair. How we'd laugh at the homburgs and the suits. Yet the machinery those old men would find on entering Whitehall would be instantly recognisable: the number and range of the departments and the committee grid that connects them are the administrative equivalent of a Forties valve radio.

Architecture: Street talk

"Good design not only matters but it pays... I never made the connection [as a schoolboy] that it was possible to be an architect and make a living as an architect."

Building cities of the imagination

Film-makers know the value of a good setting. Which explains their fascination with all things architectural.

Museum wins pounds 30m lottery grant for new roof

REBECCA FOWLER

Letter: Cardiff has been saved from an operatic folly

From Ms Liz Mahoney

Be listed, and be damned

Grade I, Grade II... but does making the Grade stunt our cities' growth? By Peter Popham

Arts 2000: out with the old, in with the new

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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen