Chinese students excelled in maths and reading, with the Shanghai region winning in both categories

The Pisa global league table overlooks cultural factors that incentivize learning

It is cultural norms in communities that orient children towards education

Steve Waugh (C) has criticised David Warner (R) for his comments about Jonathtan Trott (L)

Ashes 2013-14: Former Australia captain Steve Waugh says David Warner 'crossed the line' with Jonathan Trott criticism

Waugh believes Warner was 'out of order' for making personal comments about Trott before his Ashes departure

New Zealand's Sonny Bill Williams will pose a huge threat to the Australians in tthes World Cup final at Old Trafford – but can he help them retain their crown?

Rugby League World Cup final: Australia eager for revenge against New Zealand

While the New Zealand coach, Stephen Kearney, is doing his best to give his world champions the tag of underdogs before Saturday’s World Cup final against Australia, Kangaroos forward Greg Bird is having none of it.

Rory McIlroy admitted his sympathy for Jonathan Trott and expressed his concern at the growing pressure that sport has on the mental state of participants

Rory McIlroy opens himself up to scrutiny after admitting dismay at growing pressures of sport after Jonathan Trott's Ashes exit

The Northern Irish golfer admits Trott's departure represents the growing ever-increasing toll that sport can have on the mental state of those who compete

Sarah Teelow: Leading Australian waterskier dies following endurance race crash near Sydney

The 20-year-old was taking part in a 75 mile race

The Sport Matrix: Thursday 21 November 2013

Gerrard welcomes negativity as Terry return played down

Ashes 2013-14: England warm up for first real Test with a seven wicket win over Australia XI

Australia XI v England, tour match, SCG, fourth day

England's Stuart Broad bowls during day one of the tour match against the CA Invitational XI

The Ashes: Stuart Broad quickly hits stride but rival pacemen come up short

England still do not seem to know their Test team after frustrating day in the field

England captain Alastair Cook and Michael Carberry salute the crowd as they leave the field at the end of day one of the tour match between Australia A and England

Travel Q&A

Flights to Sydney without a stopover

Michael Clarke has got the Ashes mind games underway by announcing the England team for the first Test

The Ashes 2013-14: Australia captain Michael Clarke begins the mind games by announcing England team for first Test

Clarke made the tongue-in-cheek comment after meeting opposite number Alastair Cook at a Remembrance Day ceremony and claimed he told him their starting XI for the first match

An iPad Air - Apple’s latest tablet - reportedly exploded in a Vodafone store in Australia prompting an evacuation

iPad Air 'explodes' in Australian phone store

The shop was filled with smoke prompting an evacuation and fire brigade call out

Less than a year ago Pieterson first complained of a sore knee, leading to him flying home and missing the remainder of the English season

The Ashes: Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior doubtful for First Test

Injury may prevent both players facing Australia in Brisbane in 11 days' time

England forward Sam Burgess has been named in the England squad for their match with Fiji after serving a one-game suspension

Rugby League World Cup: Three changes for England as Sam Burgess returns after suspension for Fiji clash

Steve McNamara could also give Michael McIlorum his first start of the tournament after naming him in place of James Roby

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
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
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
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Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

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

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
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

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