Sport Richardt Strauss could return to the Ireland squad for the Six Nations following his rapid recovery from heart surgery

Schmidt coached Strauss at Leinster and believes that his return is a bonus for Ireland ahead of the Six Nations campaign

The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art: bi-weekly shows by the dancing horses

A moorish tapas crawl in Jerez

The Hedonist - what to see and where to be seen

Quiz: How much do you know about Christmas number ones?

Sam Bailey has been crowned the winner of X Factor 2013, but ever since Rage Against the Machine raged against the Cowell machine (in terms of Christmas sales), it’s not the guaranteed number one spot it was only a few years ago.

Anthony Rose: 'Forget ancient vicars and maiden aunts - Drakes Tabanco's sherries are fresh and innovative'

Missing the recent London Sherry Trail – aka tapas bar crawl – didn't prevent me from taking in the new sherry and cava bar phenomenon that's adding a dimension to the growing tapas scene. Following Bar Pepito, Rosita and Copa de Cava comes Drakes Tabanco in central London. Tim Luther and Nigel Howell's authentic tavern serves excellent Fernando de Castilla sherries from the cask and sells them to take away.

Grieg Laidlaw of Edinburgh celebrates after they defeat two-time Heineken Cup winners Munster

Edinburgh 29 Munster 23 match report: Late Tim Visser try stuns two-time European champions

Casey Laulala and Mike Sherry had cancelled out Matt Scott's opener for the Scots, who record their first Heineken Cup victory in 18 months

Corinthians keep Chichester memories alive

Gathering in Queen Anne’s Battery, Plymouth, home of the Royal Western Yacht Club of England, is a group of sailors far removed from the professional and grand prix circuit.

Major air and sea search operation under way after couple fall overboard off Australia

Despite couple being missing for more than 24 hours police say there is still hope the couple may be alive

Football and Manchester United are in Sir Alex Ferguson's veins

Time for Sir Alex Ferguson to consider new goals - for the sake of his wellbeing

Stepping down from a job is a challenge for mere mortals - the loss of status, structure and income can have a grave psychological impact. For a football god it will be much harder.

Clermont Auvergne 16 Munster 10 match report: Paul O'Connell's grit drives brave Munster close

Clermont survive late Irish fightback to reach Heineken Cup final as province fall just short

The juiciest cuts: Mark Hix cooks with succulent and nutty acorn-fed Iberico pork

In the UK, unfortunately, we don't have an annual pig slaughter, but in Spain the animal is a little more revered and many Andalucian families still carry out the traditional celebratory matanza. This involves killing the animals humanely and dissecting the various cuts and curing and brining them to ensure that the family has a supply of good-quality meat to last through the year.

Pork cheeks with sherry

Pork cheeks with sherry

Serves 4

Pakistan's minorities are under attack and the country's blasphemy laws must share the blame

The accusation alone of blasphemy has led to violence that has claimed countless lives. And the cases themselves are usually about something else

Harriet Walker: Whatever happened to New Year karma?

I never know what I'm going to do on New Year's Eve. That is, I can take a very vague guess: what I presume I will do is lie around for most of the day, then go somewhere, get drunk, wonder what all the fuss was about and go to sleep fully clothed round my friend's house.

Ten reasons why I hate Santa

1. He gave me an illuminated globe for Christmas when I was 11. Who gives an 11-year-old boy an illuminated globe? Why did I get that while Adam - who was a really nasty piece of work - got Reebok trainers and a Sega Mega Drive?

In the swing: Saracens’ Owen Farrell kicks the last-minute penalty

Farrell's boot a bonus for Sarries despite defeat

Munster 15 Saracens 9

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
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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

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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

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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
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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
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Autism-friendly theatre

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