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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In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering