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 in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain