Sport Elise Christie of Great Britain (centre) competes in an ISU speed skating event

Training against their male peers has given Britain’s female contingent an extra edge going into Sochi – raising hopes of the team’s best return since 1936

The IoS's Happy List is a welcome antidote to rich lists

IoS Happy List 2012

In our fifth annual antidote to those rich lists, David Randall and Ruth Halkon present 100 people who make Britain a much, much better place

The Hong Kong skyline

Hong Kong foodie

Matthew Bell tries the world's cheapest Michlin-starred meal

The <i>IoS</i> Happy List 2011 - the 100

Patricia Roffey and Emily Dugan present profiles of 100 people who make Britain a better and a happier place to live. If you would like to nominate someone for The Happy List click on the link below

Guide dog for the blind...guide dog

A guide dog who had his eyes removed after developing glaucoma has been provided with his own guide dog. Edward, an eight-year-old Labrador, had been at the side of Graham Waspe, a partially sighted man from Stowmarket in Suffolk, for six years. After Edward lost his own sight in October, Mr Waspe decided to keep him as a pet and the pair are now led around by another Labrador, two-year-old Opal.

Video: Books for the blind appeal launches

A new campaign has been launched that aims to greatly increase the number of books made available to blind and partially sighted people.

Ray Hazan: We need to see our way to supporting ex-Servicemen

Sight loss can be devastating. When someone loses their sight they face a long, challenging journey of rehabilitation. Emotionally, they may feel isolated and frustrated by their situation. In practical terms, they will need to re-learn many of the everyday tasks they once took for granted. Today, on World Sight Day, I'd like to urge people to think about how we can best support ex-Service men and women who lose their sight, whether in combat or later life.

DVD: Blind Loves (PG)

In his documentary feature debut, Juraj Lehotsky reminds us what true love is.

Credo: Mark Pollock

Blind adventurer, 32

Blind masseurs protest at sighted competition

South Korea's 7,000-strong sightless army takes to street to protect their livelihoods

GB youngster stuns the Water Cube

Great Britain’s youngest Paralympian Eleanor Simmonds sent a shockwave through the National Aquatics Centre with a stunning and inspirational victory in here today. The 13-year-old's sensational performance was the catalyst for a successful evening at the Water Cube, with David Roberts taking gold, Heather Frederiksen and Louise Watkin silver and Matt Walker bronze.

Issuing one-size dollar bills is unfair to the blind, US appeal court rules

The US government has been told to change the size or texture of its banknotes because it is difficult for blind people to tell them apart. A federal appeals court upheld a ruling that having all notes the same size and texture was unacceptable. The decision could force the Treasury to make bills of different sizes or print them with raised markings or other distinguishing features.

Cyberclinic: Why are blind people ignored by websites?

After last week's column about Captchas – the little visual tests that websites deploy alongside password requests to prove that you're human – reader Jo Franks pointed out how maddening they are for blind people. When I raised this issue on the Cyberclinic blog, Thomas Reid mentioned that a Captcha at blogcarnival.com in effect stops blind bloggers from joining in with their project. This obviously isn't a deliberate ploy. But it's far from unique.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
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A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick