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Benefits rising for ‘Bake Off’ maker

Quake deals new blow to Christchurch as World Cup pulls out

In another blow to Christchurch's morale after last month's devastating earthquake, the city has been stripped of its 2011 Rugby World Cup matches because organisers fear it may not recover in time.

RFU expect World Cup venue change due to earthquake

The Rugby Football Union expect to receive confirmation this week that England's Rugby World Cup games will be moved away from earthquake-hit Christchurch.

Rugby round-up: Lawes set to start for Saints

The England lock Courtney Lawes is due to start for Northampton at Exeter today, continuing his comeback from a knee injury. Saints have lost five Premiership matches in a row and are without four other England men – Chris Ashton, Dylan Hartley, Tom Wood and Ben Foden. Their director of rugby, Jim Mallinder, said: "We have performed reasonably well in patches. Now we have to get a positive result."

World Cup staying in New Zealand

Rugby World Cup chiefs have stressed that all 48 matches of this year's tournament will take place in New Zealand.

New Zealand vow to stage full World Cup

Rugby World Cup chiefs have stressed that all 48 matches of this year's tournament will take place in New Zealand.

Ben Youngs demands more from England team-mates

England may have taken a giant step towards the Grand Slam with Saturday's 17-9 victory over France, but that did not stop Ben Youngs from blasting his team-mates.

England women remain on track for Slam

England's women matched their male counterparts in beating France to remain on course for the Grand Slam. A 16-3 victory at Worcester's Sixways Stadium yesterday sets up a sixth successive Six Nations title and back-to-back Slams.

Peter Bills: Sean Fitzpatrick comments could haunt him

So Sean Fitzpatrick doesn’t believe the skill levels in the 6 Nations Championship have been good enough, thus far. He may be right. But we are entitled to ask for clarification here. Good enough for what and for whom?

Now that's how to stamp your mark

As New Zealand prepares to welcome the world for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, another slightly less global event got under way this week, Te Matatini, the haka championships.

Andy Robinson agrees new Scotland contract

Andy Robinson has agreed a contract to stay as Scotland head coach until after the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

New Zealand election? After the rugby, mate

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key announced yesterday that the general election will be on 26 November. He said the unusually long notice period was designed to avoid distractions during the Rugby World Cup.

Edwards says biggest games are all played in the head

Wasps and Wales coach calls on players to show bottle when it comes to handling the tight spots

Peter Bills: Brian Mujati deserves World Cup chance

If ability alone were the deciding factor in the South African rugby squad for the Rugby World Cup this year, then a player most South Africans have forgotten would comfortably win a place.

Rob Andrew considers RFU future

Rob Andrew is considering his future at the Rugby Football Union after his current position as England's director of elite rugby was scrapped.

£6 a pint for Barmy Army - but who's worrying?

England cricket supporters have been severely hit in the pocket following their team around Australia - not that they were caring about that after wrapping up the historic series victory in Sydney.

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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
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