Diary: Mad Mel needs to start minding her language

Matthew Norman on Monday

Tim Walker: How to take the fun out of a web craze

When, on Wednesday, a Twitter user called @wiggsd remarked that a White House press briefing was a bit tedious, he unexpectedly received a reply from @whitehouse: "Fiscal policy is important, but can be dry sometimes," the President's official feed agreed. "Here's something more fun..." There followed a link to the video for Rick Astley's 1987 hit, "Never Gonna Give You Up".

Palin's film panned by the critics

If Sarah Palin was hoping to sweep to power on the back of a documentary celebrating her rise from "hockey mom" to national power broker, then nobody told the critics.

She's decided nomination, says Sarah Palin's daughter

Sarah palin said she is still considering a potential 2012 presidential run, though her daughter said she has already made up her mind and is keeping the decision secret for now.

Presidential contender steps into Palin's shoes

Boasting she has a "titanium spine" but dodging revelations which suggest she may also possess a brass neck, Michele Bachmann spent the weekend preparing to become the latest Republican front-runner to launch their bid for the party's presidential nomination.

Kathy Griffin, Palace Theatre, London

The boxes of the Palace Theatre are decorated with cherubs but on its stage the American comedian and reality-show star Kathy Griffin is busy stressing that her line

Rupert Cornwell: New rivals threaten Obama's second term

Out of America: Michele Bachmann is the rising star for the Republicans as economic woes and troubles abroad add spice to next year's campaign

The Sketch: The alternatives to Ed are so weird they make even him look good

What a state the Labour leadership is in. To give you some idea, the name of Mary Creagh gets mentioned as a leader-in-waiting. Who is she? It doesn't matter: she's wild. She makes Sarah Palin look like Geoffrey Howe.

Leading article: Recovery of values

It has been a remarkable recovery. In January the US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head at an open-air meeting with constituents in Tucson, Arizona. Five months later, two photographs of her show how far she has progressed.

Rhodri Marsden: Boring emails that are the stuff of life

Unsurprisingly, my own collection of 23,549 emails over the same period is equally dull

How Sarah Palin's road trip turned into a car crash

The release of thousands of emails from her time in office caps an uncomfortable week for the Tea Party star

Sarah Palin unlikely to get an audience with Margaret Thatcher

Sarah Palin, star of the American right, is considering bringing her publicity tour to Britain in the hope that some of Margaret Thatcher's fame will rub off on her.

Letter from the editor: Living in the age of celebrity

I love our readers. I really do. Of course, in an indirect way, you pay our wages, so it's in my interest to keep in with you.

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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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'