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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Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
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Tour de France competitor Bartosz Huzarski’s legs have highlighted the gruelling nature of the race, after he posted a picture on Facebook showing extremely prominent veins stretching from his feet and all the way up his legs
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A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
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Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
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Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
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The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
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Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
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No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little