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A liver transplant patient turned up to her operation appointment at a German hospital with a bottle of vodka in her bag, a court has heard.

Serve beetroot and vodka shots with caviar or as a shot at a cocktail party

Mark Hix recipe: Beetroot and vodka shots

Serves 4-6

Two men and three teenage boys convicted at Old Bailey of 18 rapes and a string of other offences

Peterborough sex gang: Five guilty of raping and sexually assaulting underage girls

Two men and three teenage boys convicted at Old Bailey of 18 rapes and a string of other offences

Mikhail Kalashnikov obituary: Man behind world’s most famous assault rifle dies aged 94

Soviet general whose design for a cheap and reliable assault rifle transformed the nature of conflict round the world

A major review of the industry launched after the Rochdale child-grooming scandal has revealed that 63 privately owned children’s care homes across the country did not meet the Government’s minimum standards (picture posed by model)

Rochdale sex abuse cases could have been prevented 'if teams had acted earlier on danger signs'

The latest in a series of damning reports concludes that early intervention would have saved the teenage girls from repeated attacks

Rochdale sex abuse: Police apologise for failures as five men are sentenced for exploitation of 15-year-old girl

One offender was first interviewed in 2008 over rape claims but was released without charge

Tis the season to be lazy: 10 things you say you're going do this Christmas but never will

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, especially at Christmas

Keep it on ice: Mark Hix reveals his delicious freezer essentials

Great ingredients such as prawns, globe artichokes and tomato sauce can all be kept in your freezer, ready to be deployed at the drop of a hat for a delicious tasting dish. You can even have a vodka shot on hand, too

4Chan suicide attempt: 200 people watch live stream of young man trying to set himself on fire, encouraging 'Stephen' to take his own life

University of Guelph confirms man suffered severe but non-life threatening burns

Film review: Bite The Dust

Directed by Taisia Igumentseva

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Best new ideas in politics are still the old ideas

Top politicians are brilliant at making old ideas sound as good as new. Ed Miliband’s is One Nation. David Cameron proclaimed – 13 times – that Tory Britain would be a “land of opportunity” as if it hadn’t been deployed by practically every party leader in memory.

'Grab a vodka and calm down': Accommodation meltdown as York freshers are forced off-campus

Freshers in chaos as 250 new students lose out on a room in halls

The 20 most spellbinding university libraries in the world

From Harry Potter to high-tech glass domes, these universities have some serious libraries to their names

Artist implants an RFID chip under the skin to turn into a walking gallery

Chip encased in glass holds just 1Kb of data - enough for a small gif

One Leicester Street

On the Menu: Sweetbreads at One Leicester Street; hummus; Quintessentially vodka; East End Feast; Urban Night Feast

This week I've been eating...sweetbreads at One Leicester Street

Bob Nolet: 'mixing cultures appeals to me - I love asian fusion'

My Life in Food: Bob Nolet, master distiller, Ketel One Vodka

'Mixing cultures appeals to me – I love Asian fusion'

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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
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Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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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
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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
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'