Stuart Lancaster says England have not been scarred by their heavy defeat at the hands of Wales in last year’s title decider

Six Nations 2014: England possess the belief to end title drought, says Stuart Lancaster

The French can talk a brilliant game, especially when England loom large on their horizon. "It's a mythical match for us," said Pascal Papé of Stade Francais, the new captain of Les Bleus, "and losing is not an option." Then came the coach, Philippe Saint-André, and his assertion that in Paris a week on Saturday, his side would "not start with the starter but begin with the main course, with roast beef straight away". When it comes to the word play, Stuart Lancaster and company struggle to keep pace.

Chalk Talk: Are champions ready for the challenge?

Off to the North of England education conference – the traditional curtain raiser of the year.

Lizzy Yarnold is among the brightest hopes for Team GB in Sochi

Winter Olympics 2014: Team GB announce squad of 56 athletes who will attempt to make it most successful ever games

A minimum target of three medals has been set - with as many as seven a possibility

24: Live Another Day films in London in impossibly London-esque London setting

24 wants you to know London is London

Nicolas Anelka appears to make the 'la quenelle' gesture after scoring the first goal for West Brom in the 3-3 draw against West Ham

Nicolas Anelka defends 'quenelle' gesture: 'I am not anti-Semitic or racist' says West Brom striker, who asks FA to drop charge

The Frenchman made the gesture after scoring against West Ham and faces a minimum of five games out if found guilty

Vodafone opens bidding for £600m advertising contract

Vodafone has kicked off one of the biggest advertising pitches of the year after the mobile giant announced it is putting its global ad-buying and planning account up for tender.

The home of George Sanders where Marilyn Monroe once stayed

Property news roundup: Homebuyer deposits down

Plus, expensive property hotspots outside London, and a look at house prices around Europe

Alastair Cook will not play in the fourth ODI

England eager to avoid 'worst in history' tag

Defeat on Friday will make it nine internationals in a row on tour

TÜV could be liable to eventual damages of over €6bn

French legal ruling paves the way for compensation for women with faulty 'PIP' breast implants

A legal ruling made in France today has opened the way to millions of euros in compensation for British and other women who were fitted with defective French-made breast implants.

Rise in ‘funeral poverty’ means more than 100,000 in UK cannot afford to die

Damning study says there is a lack of support to help Britain’s poorest pay for funerals

Carphone Warehouse gets 4G boost as sales climb over Christmas

British high streets might have felt the squeeze over the Christmas trading period, but consumer were still willing to splash out on smartphones, according to Carphone Warehouse.

Tim Sherwood picked Nabil Bentaleb ahead of Lewis Holtby and Etienne Capoue

Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood alerts England over Nabil Bentaleb chance

The midfielder could qualify to play for the Three Lions

Andy McSmith's Diary: The think-tank accused of a unique disappearing act strikes again

Once the voice of the more civilised wing of the party, the think-tank is now firmly in the Let’s Get Nasty Again tendency

Alastair Cook looks on during the defeat in Sydney on Sunday

Alastair Cook the right man to lead England, insists old friend Ravi Bopara

Cook has said he will consider his future in light of the disastrous tour of Australia

Andrew Mitchell eventually received a begrudging apology following the 'Plebgate' affair

Damning report on Police Federation: Personal attacks on Andrew Mitchell and Theresa May condemned in review set up after 'plebgate' affair

'We heard of a growing disillusion with the lack of professionalism of some representatives' says report

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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?
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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?
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Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

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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
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