Diary of a Fresher: It's great to get some parental pampering

It's the Christmas holidays, which means I've got five fun-filled weeks of learning to live with my parents again. It's hard to gauge how well they've coped with my absence – neurotic though mum is, she's always been good at keeping her angst from influencing mine, and dad is far too rational to worry about anything other than global economic collapse. Still, I've heard rumours that for a good week after I left for uni, mum wore sunglasses indoors and out to conceal a stream of tears. All this parental denture gnashing makes me feel strangely empowered: I've proven I can survive without them, but their constant phone calls, texts and occasional "funny" email show that they're having trouble surviving without me. Mum begs to differ. "We're just concerned how you're coping. We want to be supportive," she assures me. It's a theory, I suppose.

Brown 'totally against' laws allowing assisted suicide

Prime Minister Gordon Brown today set himself firmly against any relaxation of the law on assisted suicide.

Family courts set to be opened up to the media

Divorce, custody and care proceedings in court will be opened to the media to increase transparency and accountability in the family courts, the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, has announced. Accredited journalists will be admitted from April, and although reporting restrictions will be in place, the reporters may be permitted to identify social workers and doctors who give evidence.

Tales of the suburbs: 'What happened to the future they promised us on Tomorrow's World?'

I was once told, by someone who knows about these things, that the key to being relaxed and happy is to fill your spare time with an absorbing hobby.

Relaxation over EU state aid ruled out

Europe's state aid and fair competition rules will not be relaxed despite the scale of the financial crisis, the European Commission said today.

Win a 3-night mid-week Champneys Spa Break

Champneys Health Resorts are offering you and a friend the chance to win a luxury three night break at either the glamorous Forest Mere in Hampshire, the modern Springs in Leicestershire or the cosy Henlow in Bedfordshire all set in sweeping countryside.

Minister rejects product placement on ITV shows

The Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham, has insisted US-style product placement will not be allowed in UK television programmes, torpedoing the hopes of commercial television companies for a relaxation of existing rules.

Alannah Currie: From 1980s synth-pop to 'armchair destructivist'

Back in the Eighties she was the girl with the hairspray-stiff blonde hair and black cap who intrigued a generation of semi-alternative adolescents.

Hypnotist entrances himself for surgery

By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor

Hotel Of The Week: The Dylan, Dublin

Hang out with Dublin's beautiful people – give or take a Bond villain

Killing time at the airport? Then get some killer nails

Spa services aren't just available in executive lounges. Now Jo(e) Public can indulge too, says Simone Kane

Milton: Poet, pamphleteer and patriot, By Anna Beer

England's great poet is a frustrating subject for a Life

How to be happy: Remember that sad feelings do not last forever

'I feel tense and tired a lot of the time and my mood is up and down, which isn't like me. I probably work too hard and have recently been unlucky in love, which I suspect isn't helping. Any ideas?' D.

Bowls: Davies gives world champion fight of his life

Alex Marshall, four-times world indoor bowls champion, subsided on to a chair in the press lounge at the Potters Leisure Centre yesterday evening looking distinctly flushed. The 40-year-old Scot had just played the woman who has made history this week in the male environ of the World Indoor Championships, Ceri Ann Davies, and had edged through to the quarter-final only on the tightest of tie-breaks after his 29-year-old Welsh-born opponent, now representing Australia, had recovered from losing the first set 6-4 to take the second by 8-6.

Gavin Peacock: Can you take it in the Premiership - and can your shoes?

Until a player has performed in the Premiership, there will always be a question mark about his ability to do so, in his own head and those of potential managers. Some, like Dean Ashton, or Kevin Doyle, immediately take to it, others, like Grzegorz Rasiak, or Jon Stead find the step up more difficult. The question that men like Alan Pardew and Alan Curbishley will be pondering, as they look at signing a Championship player in this transfer window, is how will their target cope? One thing is for sure, they will look into everything about them.

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Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

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Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

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After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

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Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

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Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

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King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

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