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.

Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
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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
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum