i Penny Mordaunt, Conservative MP

Someone’s about to make a Splash!

BOOK REVIEW / Method acting through a two-way radio: Songs my mother taught me - Marlon Brando with Robert Lindsey: Century, pounds 17.99

I WANTED to read Brando's autobiography for two reasons. First, because he agreed to do it only on condition that the receipt of several million dollars from his publisher would not oblige him to mention either his several wives or his many children (the details of their lives are of no interest to me, and I liked the idea of saving time by not having to listen to the usual half-truths and emotional self-justifications). Second, because it was unashamedly ghost-written, a once discredited process by which some of the most interesting documentation of pop culture is currently emerging.

Letter: Lord Scarsdale's views on his family seat

Sir: While I cannot speak about events prior to my appointment as the National Trust's architect at Kedleston Hall in 1990, my own experience of working with the National Trust and with Lord Scarsdale since then is markedly different from the impression given by the report of Lord Scarsdale's interview on local radio ('Viscount accuses National Trust of vandalism', 11 August). I have observed first hand the extent to which the Trust's staff consult Lord Scarsdale regularly about even quite minor matters and his views are welcomed and valued.

Hartstone to raise pounds 30m to repay its creditors

HARTSTONE, the troubled leather goods group, is raising pounds 30m in a rights issue to restructure its balance sheet.

Lumiere resurfaces

The Lumiere cinema in St Martin's Lane is reopening on 8 July after a four-week closure. The cinema, which is underground, had to be redecorated after water leaked into the auditorium.

QE2's pounds 30m facelift

The QE2, which has been in service for 25 years, is to undergo a pounds 30m refurbishment. The work will involve redecoration of every cabin on the 69,000-ton Cunard liner and every bathroom is to be replaced.

Flat Earth: Fitting acronyms

NEW acronyms, of which there is never any shortage, generally produce an unpronounceable word (EU, MFN) or a ridiculous one (Nafta, ERM, EMU). Occasionally, though, the effect can be nicely onomatopoeic: Slorc, for example, sounds exactly like a country being throttled by its rulers (the State Law and Order Restoration Committee, which runs things in Burma). More rarely, along comes an acronym which seems to fit the bill exactly. We like two new ones, Potus and Flotus, now apparently in use in Washington. Potus - President of the United States - has a kind of latinate ring to it, suggesting power and authority, and perhaps even - or are we imagining this? - non-inhaling drug use. And Flotus isn't too bad for First Lady Hillary, who has so buoyantly ridden the Whitewater rapids without getting her feet wet.

Fury as flood damages homes: Cable TV contractors say test dig failed to locate supply pipeline marked on map

Hundreds of householders in West London are continuing a massive clean-up today after water from a shattered mains pipe flooded their homes.

THEATRE / Low on spirit: Paul Taylor on Alan Ayckbourn's latest play

Alan Ayckbourn is to writer's block all that Proust was to the meet-the-author signing tour. A mere matter of weeks since the premiere of his 46th play, Haunting Julia (opus 47) now rolls off his word processor and into the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.

Allied Radio on ice ahead of restructuring

SHARES IN Allied Radio, the loss- making independent broadcaster, were suspended at 101 2 p as it announced plans for a rights issue and capital reconstruction. Details will be sent to shareholders and stockholders later this week, with results for the year to 30 September.

Property revival helps Taylor Woodrow back to the black

A SHARP recovery in profits from housing and property combined with an absence of exceptional charges to push Taylor Woodrow pounds 30.2m into the black in 1993, a sharp reversal from the previous year's pounds 94.5m loss.

Cheap options for Montague

ROBERT MONTAGUE, the chief executive of Tiphook, has cut his salary by three-quarters to pounds 200,000 under the proposed financial reconstruction of the deeply indebted transport leasing group.

Architecture Update: Restoration comedy

THE EUROPEAN Commission is offering pounds 2.5m for the restoration of buildings associated with the performing arts including theatres, concert halls, opera houses and cinemas. It says that anything which can be done to conserve the architectural heritage is not only of cultural importance, but is also an investment in Europe's future regional, social and economic development.

Appeals: The Ragged School Museum Trust

Children from Dulverton Junior School, south-east London, attending a Victorian lesson at the Ragged School Museum, beside the Regent's Canal, in Bow. The museum trust was set up in 1983 with three aims: to house an East End history museum, to save three canalside warehouses from demolition, now the only mid-Victorian warehouses left on the six miles of canal and towpath in Tower Hamlets, and to provide education, activities and space for temporary exhibitions. The museum opened four years ago and has 12,000 visitors each year. It has started an appeal for pounds 650,000 for a three-part refurbishment programme: to convert further warehouses for display space and other facilities, to make a new kitchen and to do general repairs and redecoration.

CHESS / Did you solve the reconstruction?

CONGRATULATIONS to the 75 readers (including one grandmaster who misspelt Independent) who sent in correct answers to our Christmas competition. Commiserations to the three who submitted 'proof' that it could not be solved.

The long road to restoration: A tough hike will benefit one of the nation's finest churches. Michael Leapman reports

THERE cannot be many countries where a rector would feel obliged to undertake a 200-mile mountain hike to raise money to restore one of the nation's most historic and exquisite churches. That is what the Rev Richard Hayes, of St Mary Woolnoth in the heart of the City of London, will be doing next May.
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Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back