Sport
Coach's thorough approach, including use of underwater treadmills, helped earn victory

Philip Hoare: Brutality on the high seas

As the politics plays out, there is always one loser: the whale itself

The Big Six: Cool motels

Danger Mouse rings in the new

The superstar producer/remixer of Blur, Beck, the Black Keys and many more has teamed up with the frontman of The Shins. Andy Gill meets the duo

Cameron fears candidates' links to lobbying industry

Conservative leader warns dozens of prospective MPs from consultancy firms: don't bring us into this mess

The Spy Game, By Georgina Harding

On a freezing January morning in 1961, eight-year-old Anna Wyatt's mother disappears into the fog - "a kiss no more than a brush of breath and powdered cheek" - and fails to return. On the same day, five Soviet agents are arrested in connection with the theft of Admiralty documents from the Portland naval base.

The fight on the beaches

The general election will be decided by votes cast in key marginal constituencies – many of them on Britain's coast. What's going on in voters' minds in these seashore seats? Paul Vallely tests the water in Hastings, Weymouth and Blackpool

BBC wasted £100m on refit of Broadcasting House offices

Building work at London base, along with Salford and Glasgow sites, will cost £2bn

Brown takes stand against assisted suicide

Gordon Brown today dismissed calls for legalising assisted suicide by warning that frail and vulnerable people would be put at risk of dying before they were ready.

BBC Trust spent £3.2m in move to new office

media The BBC Trust, the watchdog entrusted with getting the best out of the BBC for licence payers, has spent £3.2m on new premises. It signed a £2.2m, eight-year lease for the new headquarters in central London's Great Portland Street, one of the capital's most exclusive addresses. Another £1m was spent on refurbishment. A spokesman for the Trust said: "The Trust's current office in Great Portland Street was chosen on the basis that it offered the best value for money of all the options considered."

Jesse Jackson calls Oregon police shooting an execution

A prominent civil rights leader called the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man an execution and criticized plans to allow the officer to return to regular duty this week.

Passion portraits: A stunning new exhibition reveals the delicate beauty of Mary Delany's 'paper mosaiks'

There is hope for us all in the knowledge that Mary Delany, whose intricate paper flowers are the highlight of an exhibition opening this month at Sir John Soane's Museum in London, only began making these collages at the age of 73. All her life she had sketched and painted and embroidered in the polite, desultory way common to many women of the 18th century, who had no need to work for a living. But in a letter to her niece, written on 4 October 1772, Delany suddenly announced that she had "invented a new way of imitating flowers". During the next 10 years she produced almost a thousand "paper mosaiks", as she called them, astonishingly detailed plant portraits built up from coloured tissues stuck down on a black background.

Lean On Pete, By Willy Vlautin

Over the course of three novels, and many albums with his band, Richmond Fontaine, Willy Vlautin has mapped out his own territory. It's a version of the American West in which the principal cities are the gambling town of Reno, Nevada and the steel town of Portland, Oregon. Vlautin's version is about as far from the tourist brochures as you can get. He unearths a world Steinbeck would have recognised: a place of flophouse motels and fading racetracks, where the American underclass still resides.

Dylan Jones: 'The Next Big Thing usually consists of a bunch of indie kids from Oregon wearing lumberjack shirts'

I've become cynical whenever someone over the age of 30 starts championing the Next Big Thing, because the Next Big Thing usually turns out to consist of a bunch of wussy indie kids from Portland, Oregon, who all wear lumberjack shirts and Timberlands, and who play the sort of folkie-tinged music that has overweight music critics crying into their beer and their laptops.

Warp20, The Coronet, London

Sheffield's Warp label has come a long way since its modest beginnings.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there