Property The restoration game: Crossways in leafy Hanwell, west London, has failed to sell at auction and may continue to lie derelict

Plus Six Nations property breakdown, empty homes, homelessness, and rents in UK cities

Middle-class problems: No.32 - Flatmates

It’s not easy living with non-family members...

Message sent abroad by toxic debate on immigration could have a devastating effect on our economy

It’s crucial to state clearly that the benefits of legal migration outweigh the costs, and that those benefits support the Government’s strategy to get growth back into the economy

Free schools are failing meet their own targets according to Derpartment for Education figures

Over half of free schools do not attract enough pupils

Evidence shows that many new free schools are failing to meet their recruitment targets

Xhosa women inside a house in the nearby village of Mvezo, where Mandela was born

Nelson Mandela burial: Qunu awaits final return of its most famous son

Amid the squabbles and chaotic preparations, residents speak of their pride in Mandela

In the Red: Present misery will await me after a hard Christmas Day’s work

I implore you to shed none of your tinsel tears for me, but come Christmas Day – when those of you who celebrate this festival of generosity and indigestion will no doubt be up to your forehead in the high yuletide – I will be working. No intravenous eggnog for me.

Over 3,000 people are still living as patients in hospitals, one year on from Government commitments to transform adult social care in the wake of the Winterbourne View abuse scandal

One in five patients with learning disabilities live in hospitals 100km or more from their families

Thousands of patients still live in hospitals, a year on from Government promises to transform adult social care

Ded Moroz (Father Frost) meets children in Moscow. The Russian equivalent of Father Christmas has been banned from state TV in Tajikistan

Father Christmas outlawed by Tajikistan TV

The country has banned Father Frost - the Russian equivalent of Father Christmas - from appearing on state TV as the character 'bears no relation to national traditions'

Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar village

Tests have confirmed 20 people died after contracting the disease on the island

French President Francois Hollande speaks with French soldiers after he paid tribute to two French soldiers who were killed overnight, in Bangui

Mission will continue, says François Hollande as he flies in to war-torn Central African Republic

Five hundred have died in clashes between Muslims and Christians over the last week

The News Matrix: Monday 9 December 2013

Protesters topple Lenin statue in Kiev

The yellow wagtail has disappeared entirely from Wales

Birds that were once a common sight in Britain take flight, never to return

The sharp decline in some of Britain’s most common bird species is resulting for the first time in their disappearance from some parts of the United Kingdom, conservationists warn today.

New NHS figures have revealed a surge in numbers of middle-aged patients admitted to A&E because of drug or alcohol

Middle-aged drinking and drug-taking leads to surge in hospital admissions

New NHS figures have revealed a surge in numbers of middle-aged patients admitted to A&E because of drug or alcohol.

A French soldier patrols the streets of Bangui in the Central African Republic

After days of sectarian violence, French troops bring calm to the Central African Republic

Fighting between rival militias and random attacks on civilians has killed at least 400 people in three days

Polygamous Sect Members Come Out In Mass

Polygamy offers young women of Kazakhstan a ticket out of poverty

Gulf between rich and poor fuels revival of a practice which has become a status symbol for affluent men and a ticket out of poverty for young women

Brad Haddin and Matt Prior have words at stumps in Adelaide on Sunday

Ashes 2013-14: Joe Root keeps smiling through heat of the sledging battle

No one is saying what is being said out in the middle as the Ashes sledging war rages. Safe to assume that the players are not asking for addresses to send Christmas cards.

Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

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scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
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Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
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Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?