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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A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

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New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
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Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice