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

Unite pulls out of university project

Obituary: Eric Mackerness

ERIC MACKERNESS was a long-serving and distinguished member of the teaching staff at Sheffield University.

Books: Farewell to Sligger, Beetles and bottom-patting Oscar

Fred Inglis says goodbye, and good riddance, to the creepy time- servers and intellectual nonentities of old Oxbridge

Letter: Post-mortem ethics

Sir: The distressing experiences of Jeremy and Sandra McKenzie ("Baby organ scandal", letter, 9 December) highlight the need for bereaved parents and other relatives to have a full explanation of the purpose of post-mortem examinations and of their legal basis.

Blair `faces same end as Thatcher'

TONY BLAIR has been warned that his "control freakery" could result in him losing touch with Labour Party members, and then losing power.

FOCUS: BABIES AT RISK; Mothers who kill: not as rare as we think

Last week Sally Clark was convicted of murdering her two babies. She said they were `cot death' victims. How many other parents have done the same?

Obituary: Norman Thompson

NORMAN THOMPSON joined the Department of Physics at Bristol University in 1933, and, apart from the years of the Second World War and a sabbatical year in the United States, he remained there until his retirement in 1975. He had joined the department at the same time as Nevill Mott, and he was the last survivor of those pre-war days.

Real Life: Come as you are

On TV, in magazines - now there's even a photographic exhibition devoted to the female orgasm. Enough, says DEBORAH ORR

Missing matter may be found in mine-shaft

THE FIRST hints that scientists may be on the path to solving one of the biggest conundrums in the universe were revealed yesterday by physicists in search of the mysterious missing matter of space.

Books: Shining in the darkness

Richard Canning admires a brilliant illuminator of troubled family life; The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Tibn Picador, pounds 15, 263pp

Which Way 99: student file: the sky's the limit

going to university isn't just about working hard. It's also about meeting new people and having new experiences. And what better way than to join a club?

New inquiry into child harm disorder

THE CONTROVERSIAL diagnosis of Munchausen's by proxy, a form of child abuse that can end in death, is to be investigated by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

The Eclipse: Quotes of the Day

"The next one in Britain is in 2090, and I will be retired by then." Howard Ilett, 81, an astronomer who also saw the 1927 eclipse.
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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
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