News Gerardo Gamboa who handed in $300,000 found in the back of his taxi

A Las Vegas taxi driver proved it is the season of goodwill - after he handed in $300,000 left in the back of his cab.

Theatre: Humorous liaisons

As Jeanette Winterson once observed, it's dislocation that makes us laugh: something expected in an unexpected place - your favourite aunt in a poker parlour. Or the reverse: something unexpected in an expected place - a poker in your favourite aunt. If theatre is (wrongly) regarded as a place of "high cultural value", opera, despite its reputation for excess, is believed to be the domain of artistic piety to the point of transfiguration. So where does comic opera fit in?

The Law: Ten reasons why the law is an ass

Possessing computer files which contain unauthorised data about private indviduals

Dance Review: Dark, brutal passion - and not a poker in sight

Edward II Birmingham Hippodrome

One for his nob, two for his heels

William Hartston explores the curious rules and history of one of our oldest and most popular card games

Brits stun Vegas aces with pounds 2.5m poker haul

Las Vegas is used to the wild and weird, but this was really out of the ordinary: Brits and other Europeans whacking the locals at their very own game. They won more than $4m (pounds 2.5m) in the World Poker Championships, which ended last week at Binion's Horseshoe casino.

WHAT'S THE DEAL, PATRICK?

His first play was so good it was put on by the National. Now Patrick Marber is back with his follow-up to `Dealer's Choice'. But still he's not sure he wouldn't rather be idling away his time in front of the television

Playing in five dimensions

William Hartston devises the game to end all games - and to decide which ones suit you

The write stuff

The last time David Edgar hosted a conference on new writing, he called it 'All Passion Spent'.

Games people play Brian Sewell teaches Pandora Melly the joy of chess

Christopher Silvester, 37, writer and journalist.

Words: Buck

Buck

a cough, a sniff and a jump into the sick room

I feel strangely exalted ... febrile ... weird. Who needs drugs, eh, when you can just have flu? It began with a sudden intake of breath. Not much different from any other intake of breath except that this one burned. Another, more cautious breath. No mistake about it: the deep, satisfying crackle of lung infection. I really thought I'd managed to miss the winter plague this time, lagging myself like a boiler at the first advent of cold weather, proud to be seen in my little red hat, which looks exactly like the one the Penguin dons in The Wrong Trousers to make him look like a chicken.

Claus ... and effect

Never work with children or reindeer, the saying almost goes. The demeanour of five of the capital's Santas suggests why.

My biggest mistake : Businessman Santa Claus

Losses on the cards

Leading Article: Why Honest John will not come clean

So, the negotiation of a single currency in Europe is to be likened to a boys' game. After his septem dies horribiles, John Major's much-hyped television interview relied heavily on red cards, football pitches and poker, laddish metaphors from an embattled prime minister. A master of bathos, Mr Major yesterday called the decision on going forward with monetary union the most important peacetime decision; others might claim that honour for accession to the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949, but either way it seems that destiny is being approached in the spirit of a Las Vegas craps game. Our Number 10 card sharp says he is keeping his hand face down, to be revealed with a flourish in that city of sin, Amsterdam, in June next year. Ah, but won't there have been a general election by then? Well, yes: the possibility is that we shall never know what the deuce his position is.

Edinburgh Festival: Four to see

Dealer's Choice (right)
Career Services

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
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
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

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

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
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
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

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

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform