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.

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.

Football: The man who would be king

Andrew Longmore looks behind the new public face of English football

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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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen