Life and Style

Google Doodle celebrates the Year of the Horse

Maldives beach becomes sea of stars thanks to bioluminescent phytoplankton

Trick of nature creates spectacle

Book review: 'Ping-Pong Diplomacy', By Nicholas Griffin

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.

Taiwanese intelligence officer Emily Mei Yeh faces long prison term in Taiwan after being refused asylum in UK

Emily Mei Yeh claims she was asked to undertake intelligence tasks she was not comfortable with

Tom Jones: Businessman

Tom Jones was chief executive of the US aerospace company Northrop for 30 years and took it to the top of its field during the Cold War while weathering a series of scandals. He took the company from a secondary aerospace subcontractor to a leading manufacturer of military aircraft, including the F-5 and F-18 fighter jets and the B-2 stealth bomber.

Giant panda bear cub Bao Bao moves around inside the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington
Xu Shuaijun's hot air balloon near the disputed islands

China-Japan tensions: Chef crashes balloon near disputed islands

The islands have caused tension between the countries for some time

Why I won't be shopping in the UK's first Veganz supermarket

The diet often becomes a fanatical and joyless one

The 'body atlas' shows where people feel certain emotions, regardless of their backgrounds, according to a new study

Racing pulse, glowing cheeks and a heavy heart: ‘Body atlas’ heatmaps reveal where we feel different emotions

Study shows how humans all feel certain emotions in specific body parts, regardless of language or location

BlackBerry has turned to Chinese manufacturer Foxconn to produce its hardware

BlackBerry looks East to revive its fortunes after posting huge loss

Five-year deal with Foxconn to target emerging markets marks clear strategic shift

The young tourist, who has not been named, was on St Kilda's pier in Melbourne when she was spotted falling into the cold water of the bay.

Status: Wet - Woman walks off a pier while checking Facebook on her phone

The young tourist was on St Kilda's pier in Melbourne when she was spotted falling into the cold water

Half a million 15-year-olds were tested in 65 countries - and we were 26th in maths and 23rd in reading

Bottom of the class: UK literacy and numeracy standards slip down international rankings

Half a million 15-year-olds were tested in 65 countries - and we were 26th in maths and 23rd in reading

The new terminal is of critical importance to the future of Shenzhen as a booming business and tourist destination, and will bring benefits to the region as a whole

Shenzhen airport Terminal Three: Vast, shiny, new - and empty? China's latest temple to aviation opens

It can handle 45 million passengers a year, 30 per cent more than Terminal Five. It cost $1bn (£612m), just one-seventh the cost of the Heathrow project. And while T5 had been 20 years in the making, the bigger Terminal 3 at  Shenzen took only five.

A Philippine Airlines jet stands on the tarmac at Manila's International airport as one of the most intense typhoons ever recorded tore into the Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan: Monster storm batters optimism over improved Manila tourism links

Philippines is profoundly vulnerable to both tropical tempests and seismic hyperactivity

RSPCA Inspector Tony Woodley holds a seven-inch-long huntsman spider, common to Australia, which was discovered in a delivery at St Leonards-on-Sea:

Stowaway! Giant fast-moving huntsman spider with a nasty bite lands in UK

The seven-inch arachnid reached East Sussex in delivery of BMX parts from Taiwan

HTC cashes in on gold trend with 18ct handset worth £2,750

Apple and Samsung have already made gold-coloured smartphones; HTC just went straight for the gold

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
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Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
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Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
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Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
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Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
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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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick