i Penny Mordaunt, Conservative MP

Someone’s about to make a Splash!

Cold light, By Jenn Ashworth

Like the oxymoronic title of Jenn Ashworth's haunting second novel, its insidious and unsettling power resides in the tension created by opposites. The tenderness and delicacy of the 14-year-old girl is juxtaposed with a capacity for great brutality. Set in a northern town as claustrophobic as the relationships depicted, Cold Light unflinchingly tells the sad story of teenage friendship gone awry in the most devastating way.

The rebirth of the Bolshoi theatre

A dazzling £400m refit has given Moscow's famous theatre a fresh start after years of alleged corruption

Search continues for flood survivors

Survivors of devastating floods sought solace in church services yesterday while emergency workers searched wrecked homes for victims.

Mother to play Joanna Yeates in reconstruction

The mother of Joanna Yeates has offered to take part in a TV reconstruction of her daughter's last-known movements in Bristol.

Homes under the hammer surge in popularity

Prospective homeowners are bypassing estate agents in favour of residential auctions. Maryrose Fison reports

Last Night's TV: Can't Bully Me/BBC3<br />Beeny's Restoration Nightmare/Channel 4<br />Nigella's Kitchen/BBC2

Goodness know who came up with the notion that secondary school offers the best days of your life. Whoever it was clearly hadn't spent much time in the classroom (bunking off down the park might, conceivably, count as the best days of your life, though that rather hinges on the prospect of adulthood being very dull indeed). At any rate, as anyone who has ever donned a uniform and picked up a pencil case will know, school – particularly when you are an angst-ridden, parentally constrained adolescent – is far more rubbish than we like to admit. How much infinitely worse it must be when the gloomy spectre of bullying – or "big black cloud" as schoolboy Billy called it last night – is added to the equation.

Blanch to miss start of Super League season with injury

Ireland's World Cup winger, Damien Blanch, has suffered another major setback which will keep him out of the early rounds of the Super League season.

New El Salvador president promises: no confiscations

Declaring "this is not the time for revenge!", and addressing supporters waving red flags and chanting "Yes, he could!", Mauricio Funes led a party of former communist revolutionaries to success in El Salvador's bitterly fought presidential election.

How to make a period home eco-friendly

To transform a historic farmhouse into an environmentally-friendly home, the Tarrys went back to basics

Renovating overseas? Get the experts in

Why endure the hassle of renovating a ruin when you can employ someone to do the hard graft for you? Laura Latham reports

Oval courtroom gets emergency refit

The Sir John Major Room overlooking the green bowl of the Oval Cricket Ground was built for corporate entertainment. Yesterday, it opened as the arena for a grand-scale investigation into alleged institutional incompetence – and a spot of redecorating.

McCanns are asked to return to Portugal

Portuguese police have asked the parents of missing Madeleine McCann if they would consider taking part in a reconstruction of the night she disappeared, sources said today.

Russian community faces schism as Patriarch Alexis sacks London bishop

With sacred song echoing down the aisles and incense filling the air above gilded icons, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition and All Saints seemed a haven of religious harmony.

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959
voicesWard committed no crime, and the truth is still being covered up, writes Geoffrey Robertson QC
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
Life and Style
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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
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas