Arts and Entertainment

Of all the subjects for a thrilling tale of espionage, war and diplomacy, ping-pong seems an unlikely contender. All the more intriguing then is the story behind a détente between America and China in 1971, which occurred seemingly out of the blue after 22 years of hostility.

Richard Garner: PISA test results are a disappointment but we should look to the future

There is no way that the results of this year’s international PISA test results can be summed up as anything other than a disappointment for the UK.

Raffaele Sollecito's defence lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno

Meredith Kercher murder retrial: Amanda Knox is guilty, says the man she falsely accused

But the American accused of killing a UK student has no intention of leaving the safety of the US to return to Italy

Craig Johnston was part of Liverpool's 1986 double-winning squad

Blades of gory: The story of 'lethal' hybrid boots that caused injury to Wayne Rooney

The former Liverpool player Craig Johnston invented concept but says evolving footwear could now end a career

South Gloucestershire and Stroud College

History: Founded in 1960 as Filton Technical College. In February 2012, the college merged with Stroud College and was renamed South Gloucestershire and Stroud College.

Travel Agenda: The Refinery in New York City; new Generator Hostel opens in Berlin and new range of travel luggage by Knomo

From hip Berlin hostels to luxury luggage and Wallace & Gromit's Thrill-o-Matic ride

Gary, left, and Lee Johnson will be in opposite dugouts tonight

Once-in-a-generation game: More than family honour at stake for Gary and Lee Johnson who will be in opposing dug-outs tonight

Clash between father and son managers could decide the fate of Yeovil and Oldham

Andy McSmith's Diary: Another Tory MP red-faced after accidental porn tweet

The lurid mix of a Twitter, pornography and a Tory MP has struck again, though this time the MP is not to blame. Rob Wilson, MP for Reading East, was making a point about David Bennett, the market trader who challenged Iain Duncan Smith to live off £53 a week, though his weekly income is not £53 as he implied, but £156. To help spread the message, Rob Wilson tweeted using a link supplied by someone at Conservative headquarters. Unfortunately, because of what the Tories euphemistically call a "technical hitch", the link users to a hard core pornography site.

HARRY POTTER: The House of Lords, too, is a Chamber of Secrets

Peer film review – it's the House of Lords cinema

It seems that Tory and Lib Dem party managers have come up with an ingenious way of making tired peers stay late for crunch votes in the House of Lords.

Luol Deng wrote to the Prime Minister

Basketball wins Olympic funding reprieve

Table tennis, indoor volleyball, sitting volleyball and wrestling miss out

Restaurant review: Bounce, 121 Holborn, London EC1

Normally when I'm shown to a far-flung table in a deserted corner by the loos, I'm tempted to complain to the management. But never have I felt more grateful for a Siberian placement than at Bounce, where our table was for table tennis. Thanks to our isolation, the wild flailings, reckless volleys and inter-generational conflict of our family ping-pong game went largely unnoticed by the early adopters who fill this super-cool new bar.

The Boy With Tape On His Face, The Duchess Theatre, London

Kiwi mime artist Sam Wills tops off his Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award success earlier this year with a West End run of his winning show: a sweet treat, perfect for the season of goodwill and frivolous entertainment.

London table tennis club Bounce is among the more stylish venues for playing the game, which is enjoyed by fans including Elle Macpherson

Ping-pong comes home - in style

The game invented in Britain is gaining new fans and going upmarket

Friday 31 August: Shooting
Jonas Jacobsson

Paralympics 2012: Six of the best to watch...

Friday 31 August: Shooting

Paralympic profile: Natalia Partyka, table tennis

Those who paid even passing attention to the Olympics – and that means most of us – have probably heard of Oscar Pistorius, South Africa’s “blade runner” who made headlines worldwide by qualifying for both sets of London Games. The name Natalia Partyka, by contrast, will mean little to all but a few, even though the Polish table tennis player will complete the same remarkable double in a few days time.

Luke Blackall: Staying in with my new friends Gabby Logan, Clare Balding and Ian Thorpe

Man About Town: Fancy a game of ping pong between courses?
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Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'