News Christmas Day 2013 was all about the battle for the other most worthy yuletide delivery: the alternative Christmas message.

While Channel 4 located the alabaster NSA whistleblower, several other household names came out of the tinsel

Letter: Freedom of faith

Sir: Where on earth has David Aaronovitch been for the last thirty or forty years?

Thank you for the music

While many female DJs must stoop to flashing cleavage on the covers of men's magazines, Jo Whiley has carved her own niche with sincerity, encyclopaedic knowledge - and a passion for pop

Justice like this only bloodies the relatives' hands

Towards the end of the trial of Timothy McVeigh, the man convicted of the Oklahoma bombing, the judge invited relatives of the victims into court to say whether he should face the death penalty. What followed was truly shocking, in two senses: the relatives spoke harrowingly about losing husbands, wives and children in the terrorist attack on a government building, but some of them offered graphic accounts of what they would like done to McVeigh.

Book review / Rebels with a curse

A Riot of our Own: night and day with The Clash by Johnny Green and Garry Barker, illustrated by Ray Lowry, Indigo, pounds 8.99

Arts: The sweet blank of success

John Cusack could have been the next Tom Cruise, but he just wasn't interested. The buzz surrounding his first feature, `Grosse Pointe Blank', suggests that he was right to stick to his guns. By Ryan Gilbey

THEY CAME FROM GARAGELAND

Life with the Clash was about as wild as it gets in rock 'n' roll. And road manager . Johnny Green lived it every gig of the way. Twenty years later he's telling the story

Perfect landing for the flying troubadours

Where the Stones meet Neil Young you'll find Wilco.

Who is Mick Jones?

BEING THERE; Much of the drama at the Olympic trials did not make the headlines. The hammer, for instance. Jonathan Rendall tells the tale

Rock: Never mind the Beatles, here's the Sex Pistols (again)

THE Nineties has been the decade of rock-band reunions, of monstrous egos deciding that the stage might be big enough for the both of them after all. But even as Television and The Velvet Underground told the press that it was time to exorcise ghosts, reclaim their leg- acy from imitators, and, oh all right, make a few quid while they were at it, those of us with nothing better to talk about in the pub declared that there were two bands that would never kiss and make up: the Beatles and the Sex Pistols. So much for the Beatles. Still, the Pistols ... Sid Vicious was dead, John Lydon (aka Rotten) wished that Glen Matlock was dead, and the band hated rock dinosaurs almost as much as they hated each other. Their past was untouchable. And so, at the 100 Club on Monday, Lydon said: "When someone says something's so sacrosanct that it can't be touched, I wanna touch it."

Fundamental fault that divides us

THINKERS OF THE NINETIES; Samuel Huntington: Is globalization taking place? Far from it, says the man who believes the single ideological clash has been replaced by multiple confrontations based on culture. Bryan Appleyard investigates

the interview : TERRY HALL, POP STAR TALKS TO BEN THOMPSON

REAL LIVES The man who sang, 'Ain't you heard of the starving millions? Ain't you heard of contraception?' now has two sons, but his dry wit remains as sharp as ever

THE SUMMER OF HATE

The Sex Pistols formed 20 years ago this month. Music would never be the same again. Here, the first writer to document punk in Britain remembers the angry summer of '75

The itch of guilt won't go away while Rushdie remains condemned

THE Satanic Verses are still with us. Six years after the late Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced his fatwa against their author, the matter of Salman Rushdie and his book continues to inflame the world like the biting of an irrepressible flea. Statesmen, preachers, journalists scratch themselves and swear; this is yesterday's story which should have been long forgotten. But the flea survives, and just when you are beginning to think it may have gone away, it bites again.

Shadows allowed to gather over fate of Preacher James

Ian MacKinnon on the silence that has followed the disappearance of a troubled pop star
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General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'