When Cassius Clay went into orbit I found it difficult to understand why older sportswriters developed a prejudice against him

The old sportswriters I knew received no rewards for their vintage. They still had to meet deadlines. They had to argue with hotel telephonists, plead with telex operators, struggle with baggage, and climb the stairs to press boxes sited in thrombosis territory.

Yeltsin returns to his Kremlin desk

Boris Yeltsin returned to work in the Kremlin yesterday, seven weeks after his heart bypass operation, and promised that life for Russians would get better in the new year.

Mail order kids

If you like shopping but your children don't, buying clothes for them can be a painful experience. To make life a little easier for harassed pre-Christmas parents, Melanie Rickey highlights six of the best and brightest ranges, all available by post

I'm too sexy for an overcoat;

This winter, writes Andrew Tuck, to freeze is to be deeply cool

Six of the best: Autumn coats

1Three-quarter length camel coat, Choice, pounds 59.99. Camel (or blond for those in the know) is still very much around. This coat is perfect for dressing up or down: good with jeans and a T-shirt or over a suit for the office. Choice, for nearest stockist call Freephone 0500 923923.

OPERA: Handel's Xerxes, Steiner Theatre

The minuscule theatre at the Rudolf Steiner Centre proved, perhaps unexpectedly, a good setting for Handel opera: the authentic instrument orchestra of nine, spiritedly directed from the harpsichord by Christian Cumyn, shared the small stage with a steep ramp and the singers. The setting (designed by ffinlo Costain) encouraged cast and players to interact - the continuo, complete with theorbo, was particularly lively. It made the most of thin resources and left no room for anyone to hide. The violins occasionally sounded scrawny but, after some initial nervousness, all the musicians played with spirit and considerable stylishness.

Theatre: Celia, you're breaking my heart

Adrian Turpin on two new versions of `As You Like It'

Paint magic

In Here: If I opted for the jolly pink of Scaramouch, would Freddie Mercury's voice ring constantly in my ears? Why do paint companies do this? What's wrong with a simple Y037?

Thieves shatter allergy girl's life

REBECCA FOWLER

Merchant's bilingual japes

Edinburgh Festival: Theatre; BERLINER ENSEMBLE Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

LETTER:Protective garb

From Mrs K. L. Boukeras

But should it cost £1.78 a minute?

Classical Music

A sight to make an old manservant young

THEATRE What the Butler Saw National Theatre, London

LA GRANDE ILLUSION

Marcel Marceau is the world's most famous mime artist. But mime has moved on. At 71, he now finds himself at war with the art form he helped to transform `Very often critics think what is old is passe. But we are not sure that the passe is not the future'

Winter do your worst: If you don't go for overcoats, a puffa will do. And if you don't go for puffas, God bless you, says Tony Glenville

French Connection pounds 100 Tough black nylon puffa with a faux fur collar and drawstring waist. Smart enough for city wear and practical enough for the country. Minimal styling means it won't date. From selected stores nationwide.
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
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Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

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Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
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Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

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Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

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Screwing your way to the top?

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Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

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Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

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The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

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