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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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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