Arts and Entertainment David Blunkett thinks shows that mock politicians should be subject to tougher libel scrutiny

Programmes that mock politicians cross the line from satire to comment, he says

Mackie relays the new age message

Norman Fox surveys the fledgling talent which may flourish in Munich

Youth English goes Creole

The Creole English of the Caribbean is being adopted as the common language of the English urban playground.

Conversations with Converse

A team of British researchers has won a contest to create a computer program which holds a "conversation" so naturally it is difficult to distinguish it from a human. The creators claim similar systems could eventually replace humans in some jobs, such as counselling. They could even become companions more valued than pets.

Obituary: Professor James Scott

James Scott will primarily be remembered as the Regional Medical Officer for the Trent Regional Health Authority from 1973 to 1988. However, behind this, there is an outstanding contribution to health care and medical education, primarily in the East Midlands.

Womb service

Helplines and

Academic masterplan helps a region to grow

When Gareth Roberts became vice-chancellor of Sheffield University, he found there was a European and an international office on campus but no regional office. So, he set one up.

Quit smoking? I could do it with my eyes shut...

When Glenda Cooper went to a hypnotherapist to end her affair with Nick O'Teen, she found will-power playing a surprisingly important role; He was enthusiastic, and assured me that I'd never want to smoke again. Wildly keen on the idea of an addiction-free life, l got off the phone and immediately lit up

I've effectively left my profession because I'm career-minded

At the Frenchay Hospital, Pamela Enderby worked in clinical assessment, diagnosis and treatment and supervised other therapists. While she became aware that a pharmacist who did not supervise a department was earning considerably more than her, she was as concerned for the effect of low pay on her profession when she began her war of attrition with the NHS, writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

Pop & Jazz: Neil Hannon and The Divine Comedy play the Royal Festival Hall, London SE1 (0171-960 4242) 26 and 27 Mar

Of one fact there can be no doubt - when Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy pens a love song, he writes in primary colours. Last year's album Casanova draped his tales from the heart with orchestral strings and pure pop razzmatazz which nudged him into the charts.

Student of the game takes on professor's role

Glenn Moore on the route that led to Lancaster Gate for the new technical director of the Football Association

Not so much silence, please

Britain's public libraries are winning the loyalty of a new generation of readers. So let's make a racket to celebrate and defend them, argues Ken Worpole

Academy under fire before bids received

Sports politics

Prehistoric find to be sacrificed for gravel

Unique Bronze Age bridges are to disappear under a man-made lake for rowers, writes David Keys

Face up to market forces or drop out

Is the cash-cow that is professional legal education in danger of drying up for the lesser players in an increasingly competitive market?

Education: Happiness is ... 10 beers and a snog

Greg is happy to be labelled a Lad. In between watching the England v Switzerland football match at the pub, the 20-year-old Sheffield University student explains his philosophy.
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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
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?