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

Persimmon sorbet

Serves 6

Johann Hari: We need to stop being such cowards about Islam

This is a column condemning cowardice – including my own. It begins with the story of a novel you cannot read. The Jewel of Medina was written by a journalist called Sherry Jones. It recounts the life of Aisha, a girl who was married off at the age of six to a 50-year-old man called Mohamed ibn Abdallah. On her wedding day, Aisha was playing on a see-saw outside her home. Inside, she was being betrothed. The first she knew of it was when she was banned from playing out in the street with the other children. When she was nine, she was taken to live with her husband, now 53. He had sex with her. When she was 14, she was accused of adultery with a man closer to her own age. Not long after, Mohamed decreed that his wives must cover their faces and bodies, even though no other women in Arabia did.

War on Terror boardgame branded criminal by police

It may not be fun for all the family – well, not in the same way as Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit or Mousetrap, say. The themes of empire building and terrorist-style attacks on opponents would probably provoke an outbreak of spluttering over the Christmas sherry.

The Quiz, Trafalgar Studios 2, London<br />Sisters, Gate Theatre, London

David Bradley is wonderfully funny and sympathetic in this new one-man show by Richard Crane that affords the reliable pleasure of watching a great actor playing a dodgy one. Here Bradley surfaces as a decrepit old thesp, named Henry Thaddeus Irving Binkie Macbeth, etc, etc (the fateful list goes on). His father was a bishop and his mother was an actress, so he has been a bit of a joke since conception. And now, years later, he has dwindled to that hapless comic cliché: the tour de force who is forced to tour.

Leading article: Rhyme and reason

Some of those women touted as contenders to be our first female Poet Laureate would not have got very far in a Renaissance court. Wendy Cope today dismisses the post as "archaic". Fleur Adcock describes it as "terribly hard work for little pay". Meanwhile, Ruth Padel says that "my impulse would be to turn it down".

Female contenders rule out 'archaic' post of Poet Laureate

Three of the leading contenders to be Britain's first female Poet Laureate have ruled themselves out of contention for the post.

Johann Hari: As life flies on, don't let poetry pass you by

If we are seeking the first great laureate of the new era, I nominate Clive James

Jersey Boys, Prince Edward Theatre, London

As a genre, the jukebox musical can be relied on to throw up more junk than most. The back catalogue of no pop group or artiste is now safe from theatre producers hungry to make a lazy buck.

First Night: Jersey Boys, Prince Edward Theatre, London

The hits keep coming but Frankie frustrates despite

Scotland v England: Sheridan props up all England's hopes

The massive front-rower shoulders the burden as he becomes pivotal to Red Rose ambitions. By Tim Glover

Hotting up: Skye Gyngell's zingy ginger recipes

From seafood to syllabub, there are not many dishes that won't benefit from a sprightly injection of flavour from fresh ginger, says Skye Gyngell

Ginger syllabub

Serves 6

Jerez, Spain

This Andalucian city the home of sherry and birthplace of flamenco is the perfect destination for an exotic winter escape.

Broken Flowers (15)

Tears of a clown on the road
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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness