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

Obituary: Professor Frank Pierce

FRANK PIERCE was a first-class Hispanic scholar and an outstanding university teacher. A mere curriculum vitae would fail completely to convey the flavour of the man. He had an electrifying impact on all who came into contact with him by virtue of his warmth, his enthusiasm, his zest for life and his insatiable curiosity about people and things. His presence couldn't be ignored nor easily brushed aside.

Books: Fine young cannibals: Kevin Sampson

At last, a novelist has got the rock scene right. Ben Thompson asks Kevin Sampson about moving from stage to page

New balls, please: bad news for big hitters

BRITISH SCIENTISTS have devised a new breed of slower tennis balls which could turn the men's game at Wimbledon from a demonstration of high-speed serving back into a battle of skill.

Passed/Failed; Carole Boyd

Carole Boyd, who plays Lynda Snell in The Archers, appeared in the Bodger and Badger children's TV series. She provides the female voices in Postman Pat. The audio cassette of her book, Lynda Snell's Heritage of Ambridge, is out now

Children born too soon `are damaged'

MORE THAN half of adolescents who were born very prematurely have signs of brain damage, raising fears that they may need special educational help as they grow.

Study into cause of rail suicides

RAIL AND health chiefs are to work together on a pounds 330,000 study into rail suicides.

Happy birthday, Will!

There was an army of groupies on hand to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday last Saturday. But why? Maybe his work really is timeless. Or was he just in the right place at the right time?

Anger at GM trials changes

SCIENTISTS ON the key committee which oversees trials of genetically modified crops are angry at plans by Environment minister Michael Meacher to replace almost all of them at once.

Architecture: Have I been here before?

Memory loss in the elderly presents architecture with its greatest challenge. How can a building help people who feel permanently lost?

Health: Blood, drugs and no tears

Von Willebrand's disease - hard to detect but fortunately easy to treat - may cause women to have abnormally heavy periods. By Sue Royal

It's official: a happy staff means more productivity

COMMON SENSE tells us that people who find satisfaction in their work are more productive than those who do not. The trouble has been in proving it. For at least 40 years occupational psychologists have told employers what motivates people at work and that motivated people work harder and more productively.

Letter: The sky at night

Sir: Roger Highfield ascribes discovery of the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Pisces in 7BC to David Hughes of Sheffield University; it was in fact discovered by Kepler in1603 ("Our ancient fascination with the sky at night", 19 December). Modern archaeology confirms that the conjunction was observed at the School of Astrology at Sippar in Mesopotamia.

Football: The man who would be king

Andrew Longmore looks behind the new public face of English football

Lawrence becomes black icon

STEPHEN LAWRENCE, the south London teenager who was murdered by white racists, has become as potent an icon as leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King for black British youth.

Science: Posers for the pub crowd to ponder

"PUT A handful of ice cubes in a pint glass. Add water till the ice floats. Wait until the ice melts. Will the level of the water - (a) rise (b) fall (c) stay the same?"
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HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower