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The First Lady on confidence, achievement and the all-important issue plaguing the female face of a nation: plastic surgery

Hello Giggles: the relentlessly upbeat Zooey Deschanel as Jess (with Jake Johnson, who plays Nick) in her upcoming
sitcom 'New Girl'

'I do try really hard to be normal'

Zooey Deschanel is playing to type as a girly kook in her lauded new sitcom. It might not be to everyone's taste, but it's just the way she is, she tells Sarah Hughes

Zooey Deschanel: 'I do try really hard to be normal'

Zooey Deschanel is playing to type as a girly kook in her lauded new sitcom. It may not be to everyone's taste, but it's just the way she is

Dr Nay Win Maung: Activist who attempted to accelerate the pace of reform in Burma

The death from a heart attack of Dr Nay Win Maung has robbed Burma of an intellectual and public policy analyst of great integrity. It is a particular loss given that Burma's politics are beginning to show positive signs, and the main protagonists – the military leaders and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi – are both adopting the more conciliatory approach which Nay Win Maung had advocated. The pace of reform is accelerating, and the US-led economic sanctions which he opposed are gradually being unwound.

The 50 Best spas

Need a cure for the New Year blues? Rhiannon Batten presents the experts' guide to steamy saunas, perfect plunge pools and tempting treatments

February 7 marks the two-hundredth anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth

What the Dickens? Try our literary quiz

Know your Nickleby from your Nell? How many questions can you answer about one of English literature's greatest figures? Katy Guest, Emily Dugan and Matthew Bell set the challenge

Becoming Dickens, By Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

Harvard, £20

Carroll: 'I'm determined not to whinge about life being unfair,' she wrote after her cancer diagnosis

Sue Carroll: Journalist acclaimed for her straight-talking columns

For the last 50 years or so the chippy female columnist, with strongly stated commonsense attitudes towards nearly everything, has been an indispensable presence in British tabloid newspapers. Jean Rook and Lynda Lee-Potter were among the acknowledged mistresses of the craft – and the Daily Mirror's Sue Carroll, who died from pancreatic cancer on Christmas Day, aged 58, has every right to be ranked alongside them.

Brian Basham: Beware corporate psychopaths – they are still occupying positions of power

Outlook Over the years I've met my fair share of monsters – rogue individuals, for the most part. But as regulation in the UK and the US has loosened its restraints, the monsters have proliferated.

<p><b>Overcrowded, overpriced and overrated: welcome to Britain</b><br/>'Down-in-the-dumps Dover has seen better days and its derelict, post-war architecture and shabby town centre... is a sad introduction to Blighty'</p>

The 12 most-read 2011 articles in Travel

From Spanish airport strikes to naked German spas, Steve Anderson runs down the most popular articles published in 2011, as well as a few editors' favourites

US tells scientists to censor flu research

The United States Government has taken the unprecedented step of asking scientists to censor key parts of their work describing how they managed to mutate the H5N1 bird flu virus into a strain that could be highly infectious and deadly to humans.

Amol Rajan: Being a schmuck stopped me meeting my hero

All my life I’ve been obsessed with heroes.

Laurie Penny: This is not some sort of polite protest

It's the eyes that hit you first – the sort of eyes that stare at you from the other side of a glass window, considering whether and when to throw a brick. Masked up in front of a backdrop of unspecified placard-waving public rage, "The Protester", the cover image of Time magazine's "person of the year" issue, is so obviously designed to be iconic that it almost feels offensive. It is as if the demonstrations, revolutions, occupations and riots that have cascaded through the streets of Tunis, London, Cairo, Athens, Barcelona, New York, Moscow and hundreds of other towns and cities were somehow a fad, a manifestation of a zeitgeist, rather than historical necessity.

Ian Burrell: Far from the scrapheap, 'NOTW' staff land on their feet

The managing editor of The Sun, Richard Caseby, went before a House of Lords committee last week and claimed that 200 people had been "thrown out of work" owing to misreporting of misdemeanours at the News of the World.

From l-r: David Ginola, Bernie Ecclestone and Vinnie Jones are just a few of the sporting personalities Brian Viner has interviewed

Brian Viner: From Ginola to Vinnie, I've had a ball...

The Brian Viner Interviews: I've listened to Ken Bates, talked to Bernie Ecclestone about the Train Robbery and learnt that Damon Hill used to wet himself. I even made it through four meetings with Ian Botham. It's been 13 years, it's been a blast

Adele's mega-sales may elude Fleet Foxes and but they are the choice of the cognoscenti

Music critics snub the public's taste in Poll of Polls

This year's best-selling singer, Adele, is absent from HMV album of the year list

Arts & Entertainment
William Shakespeare's influence on English culture is still strongly felt today, from his plays on stage to words we use everyday
arts
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voices Furore is yet another example of shameful Westminster evasion, says Nigel Farage
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Strange 'quack' noises could be undersea chatter of Minke whales
science
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sport
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weird news... and film it, obviously
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Matthew Mcnulty and Jessica Brown Findlay in 'Jamaica Inn'
mediaHundreds complain over dialogue levels in period drama
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peopleJay Z and Beyoncé to buy £5.5m London townhouse
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voicesMoyes' tragedy is one the Deputy PM understands all too well, says Matthew Norman
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Rocker of ages: Chuck Berry
musicWhy do musicians play into old age?
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Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home

It's not always fun in the sun: Moving abroad does not guarantee happiness

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
Migrants in Britain a decade on: They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire

Migrants in Britain a decade on

They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire
Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
Why musicians play into their old age

Why musicians play into their old age

Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
How can you tell a gentleman?

How can you tell a gentleman?

A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire
Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Celebrate St George’s Day with a nice cup of tea. Now you just need to get the water boiled
Sam Wallace: Why Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term

Sam Wallace

Why Ryan Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term
Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Having smashed Sergei Bubka's 21-year-old record, the French phenomenon tells Simon Turnbull he can go higher
Through the screen: British Pathé opens its archives

Through the screen

British Pathé opens its archives
The man behind the papier mâché mask

Frank Sidebottom

The man behind the papier mâché mask
Chris Marker: Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Chris Marker retrospective is a revelation
Boston runs again: Thousands take to the streets for marathon as city honours dead and injured of last year's bombing

Boston runs again

Thousands of runners take to the streets as city honours dead of last year
40 years of fostering and still holding the babies (and with no plans to retire)

40 years of fostering and holding the babies

In their seventies and still working as specialist foster parents