News

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.

The Oligarch's Wife, By Anna Blundy

Pavel Ivanchenko's life begins in poverty and violence, selling illegal vodka on the streets of Kirgask to support his family. But by the end of the novel, he has reinvented himself as one of post-Glasnost's most influential plutocrats.

Beverages through a lens

Ever wondered what your favourite tipple would look like under a microscope? No, we hadn’t either. But American scientist Michael Davidson did.

Media Lunch: Richard Hillgrove, founder, Hillgrove PR

The venue: The Thomas Cubitt, in Elizabeth Street, Belgravia. It was recommended to me by a diary editor, who told me that everyone was going there. It's much better than a typical gastro-pub.

Police hunt vodka raiders

Police were today hunting armed thieves who made off with five lorry-loads of vodka in a warehouse raid.

Bloody Mary jelly shots

Makes about 8-10

Heatwave - and vodka - leads to 200 drownings in a single week

A prolonged heatwave across European Russia combined with a prodigious consumption of vodka has led to dozens of drownings every day as drunken swimmers attempt to cool off in lakes and ponds. More than 200 people have drowned in the last week alone.

Business Diary: Blessed are the BT peacemakers

BT was no doubt expecting fisticuffs when launching its cut-price offer of Sky Sports this week – the feud with its rival has, after all, been pretty bitter.

How GCHQ kept tabs on Soviet vodka supplies

The lives of ordinary people under Stalin are revealed as Britain's spying secrets are finally made public

Gin: In a glass of its own

Forget ice and a slice – the new super-premium gins are much too interesting to be drowned in tonic. David Gerrie reports on a new spirit of adventure

Absolute and Absolut settle

Absolute Radio has settled its branding dispute with Swedish vodka Absolut after an 18-month legal battle over allegations that the national music station was infringing the drink's trademark.

Mark Morris Dance Group / English National Opera, Coliseum, London<br/>Earthfall, Cochrane Theatre, London

A joyous, all-singing, all-dancing celebration of life in all its hues

Claire Beale On Advertising: An Absolut break from the norm

Director Spike Jonze has made his first love story. It's a short one, a 30-minute film. And strange. Naturally. Its melancholic and dreamy, loved-up stars are two robots, one a librarian, the other a free-spirited lady android. They're all plastic and wire, like reclaimed computing cast-offs from a decade or two back. Retro, for robots. But they talk like you and me. And they live in LA.

Album: Los Campesinos! Romance Is Boring (Wichita)

Like a drunken Lord's spectator floored by a cover drive six, I didn't see this coming. Cardiff collective Los Campesinos! have previously erred on the side of twee and irritating, but the Bis-like hyperactivity of their early releases is now only half the story.

Russia starts year with war on cheap vodka

Medvedev sanctions law putting minimum price on spirits to fight binge drinking

Russia raises price bar on vodka in effort to reduce alcohol consumption

Russia set a minimum price for vodka today more than doubling the cost of the cheapest drinks in an effort to fight rampant alcoholism.

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
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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
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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