India's Sahara close to Man Utd shirt deal

India's Sahara Group is in advanced talks with Manchester United to become the new shirt sponsors of the Premiership champions, domestic media reported today.

Now, the sound of spring is at risk

The cuckoo joins the Red List of Britain's most endangered species as migrating birds vanish from our shores

Pavlova wars: New Zealand reclaims its national dessert

Prime Minister irritated by Australia's culinary thievery

Cinema Ouagadougou: The home of African film

Forget Cannes, Venice and Berlin – if you're passionate about film, Burkina Faso is the place to go, writes Katrina Manson

Musical warriors: The Tuareg

Perhaps the purest exponents of desert blues are Tinariwen. The band’s backstory is the stuff of legend – members of the loose collective fought in the Mali Civil War during the Nineties, and tales of the Tuareg musicians going into battle with both Kalashnikovs and guitars slung over their backs are legion. Their sound is unique – layered guitars interweaving with call and response vocals, handclaps and female throat singers.

Manchester United seek Indian shirt sponsor

Giant Indian corporation Sahara have been approached about the possibility of becoming Manchester United's next shirt sponsor.

Equestrianism: Whitaker sets show on fire in Pudding Stakes

Robert Whitaker's attempt to repeat last year's achievement in becoming leading rider of the London International Horse Show at Olympia got off to a fine start yesterday when he won the KBIS Christmas Pudding Speed Stakes on Rusedski II.

Minor British Institutions: Rock cakes

Like one or two other of our small but much loved institutions, the rock cake seems to have crumbled away a little lately, almost unnoticed. It does seems a long time since they were a common sight, now supplanted perhaps by those US-style muffins that landed in the mid-Eighties.

Paperbacks: Pathfinders, by Felipe Fernández-Armesto

Stretching, reaching, stirring, springing, vaulting, girdling... The chapter headings of this epic history of exploration suggest that voyaging into the unknown is a fundamental human activity.

Paperbacks: Gold Dust, by Ibrahim al-Koni

Imagine Cormac McCarthy's savage lyricism in a Paul Bowles desert landscape and you begin to enter the bleakly beautiful world of this mesmerising, fable-like novel. Libya's Al-Koni draws on the lore of the Sahara's Tuareg nomads in this tragedy of rebellion and revenge. Rejecting his noble clan, Ukhayyad prefers the company of his pedigree camel: a royal beast, splendidly evoked in Elliott Colla's radiant translation. Yet a war and a wedding drag the lad out of myth and into history. Trade ousts honour, and gold seals his doom.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: This confrontation is a calamity for the capital

We could call it the "Bonfire of the Vanities", but that literary cliché feels glib for what is happening in the Metropolitan Police today. Two responsible, mature men, holding the most critical jobs in the capital, upon whose judgements and actions millions depend, bust up in public. We are witnessing scenes more poisonous than the McCartney/Mills divorce as the men get sucked up in a vortex of fury.

Zuppa Inglese

Serves 8

Blackcurrant sorbet

Makes about 1 litre

In the Red: For a thriving social life on the cheap, there's no place like home

Looking over my bank statements, I couldn't quite figure out what had happened. Where had my money gone? I'd been so well behaved, what with limiting my cash withdrawals, taking my own lunch in to work and buying things second-hand. But still I was broke. Again.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk