Racing: Testing time for Sheikh's squad

The only team in blue with any chance of success this afternoon will be the one from west London, following the decision of Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin operation to keep its string at home in Newmarket until a reason emerges for a series of disappointing performances this season.

Dutch brothers missing in London

Police are concerned for the safety of two Dutch boys who disappeared early yesterday while holidaying with their parents in London.

Life and death in Dolphin Square

Michael Streeter on the block of flats that has been home to the famous, infamous and notorious

Tory MP drank himself to death alone in his flat

The sudden death of Iain Mills, the Tory MP, was caused by acute alcohol intoxication, an inquest was told yesterday.

Britain under the hammer

House auctions used to be only for the hard up and the speculative. But a shortage of houses is encouraging mainstream buyers to compete with professional developers.

A comprehensive cock-up

Will Pimlico School, monument to late-Sixties progress, become a monument to Major's Private Finance Initiative? And will Jack Straw's statue be in the playground?

The sound of the broken hearted

What's in a voice? Plenty, if you're Linda Thompson, the former folk-rock diva who lost hers completely.

Shirley on the scaffold

The District Auditor's final verdict on Westminster council may rob John Major of his majority.

Outside the Tate on the clean, classical steps, Pimlico Lolitas smoke and yawn and stretch their baby-animal legs in the November sunshine

"It's just dead animals cut in half, you realise?" says Jonathan when I announce I'm quitting my word processor this afternoon for the Turner Prize exhibition at the Tate.

No appeal by child over special school decision

LAW REPORT v 28 September 1995 Simon v Special Educational Needs Tribunal and another; Queen's Bench Division (Mr Justice Latham) 25 July 1995

REVIEW OF THE BUXTON FESTIVAL

Opera BUXTON FESTIVAL Buxton Opera House

where shall we meet? The White Swan, SW1

The Tate, standing in that area that Shirley Porter tried to gerrymander out of working-classness recently, has always been a bit short on local rendezvous points for gallery visitors. The White Swan, "one of London's oldest pubs", near Pimlico tube, has recently been tarted up in an eccentric version of the stripped brick school. Rafters have been inserted at normal ceiling height through which one can see the old Anaglypta peering through. This place has a friendly atmosphere and, although it has a jukebox, it's often not playing; instead, the large room is filled with the rumble of people conversing without self-consciousness. Real ales and pleasant, if unexceptional, food at £3.50-£4.50.

BOOKS / Paperbacks

The Conquest of Mexico by Hugh Thomas, Pimlico pounds 12.50. Cortes and his tiny army did not pluck a plum that was ripe to fall. The Aztec expansion had begun less than 100 years earlier and in 1518 their culture remained vigorous. Nor were they crudely colonial, but, like a modern superpower, controlled with some subtlety a network of client states from a magnificent and advanced centre. Excellent mathematicians, craftsmen and civil administrators, the Mexicans would easily have assimilated the Spaniards' innovations - iron, candles, the alphabet, horses, wheeled transport. It was smallpox, another present from Europe, which denied them the chance. Without the virus (and for all his courage and military skill) Cortes might well have been crushed, with intriguing consequences for the course of history.

OPERA / House warming: Cheryomushki - Pimlico Opera

Nobody told Shostakovich that Cheryomushki was the funniest musical before Mel Brooks' Springtime for Hitler. He felt ashamed of this late-Fifties tale of social optimism and bureaucratic corruption in a brand-new housing development (the title means Cherry Trees Estate). It was staged with big orchestra, high-profile Moscow run, film, the full works. Considering the troubles he had with his deeply considered compositions, he would have felt the irony of this glam treatment for something he wrote because he needed the work.

Ripe for renewal

One of the few unconverted houses in Eccleston Square SW1 has come up for sale for a relatively reasonable pounds 750,000. No 14 is unmodernised and has six storeys with 15 rooms and three bathrooms.
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Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
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A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
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Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
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UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
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‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
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Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
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Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
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You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
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Beige to the future

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Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

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