Off to the North of England education conference – the traditional curtain raiser of the year.

Rugby League: Deakin hopes for 15,000 turn-out

MARKETING THE last match in a Test series that has already been decided will challenge even Peter Deakin's highly regarded salesmanship, writes Dave Hadfield.

RUGBY LEAGUE: Harris doubt for last Test

GREAT BRITAIN'S injury problems for the Test against New Zealand they must win to avoid the ignominy of a whitewash have worsened with the news that Iestyn Harris is unlikely to be fit, writes Dave Hadfield.

Obituary: Harold Noble

HAROLD NOBLE was a prolific composer whose contribution to the choral repertoire was rarely acknowledged during his lifetime. Like Ralph Vaughan Williams, Noble took a particular interest in folk music, arranging songs such as "The Ballad of Semmerwater", "Naples Bay" and "The Road of Evening" for voice and piano accompaniment, while his liturgical music includes a Magnificat, Nunc Dimittis and Te Deum.

Railways may face death charges

THE RAILWAY industry could face corporate manslaughter charges over three separate train crashes in a series of legal moves this week.

Education - Letter: Teaching tactics

All things considered, this seems to be the right time to update that statement by George Bernard Shaw, to read:

Theatre: Getting away with murder

Patricia Highsmith's thrillers inspired Hitchcock, Minghella and now Phyllis Nagy. Why?

Comedy: GIG OF THE WEEK: John Hegley tomorrow

Hackney Empire, London E8 (0181-985 2424) tomorrow, 7.30pm

Rugby Union: No compromise in sight as kick-off looms

IT WAS looking certain last night that there would be no immediate solution to the protracted wrangling between the top English clubs and the Rugby Football Union. Just 24 hours before the Welsh rebels Cardiff and Swansea are due to kick off against Bedford and West Hartlepool (strike action permitting) on a Saturday scheduled for a full Allied Dunbar Premiership programme, the RFU's management board is no nearer a compromise.


IN WHICH painting by which painter can you find this flyer?

The horrors of Watford Gap, recounted in the ballad of the Bank Holiday driver

AS REGULAR readers will know, I am a great collector of motorway ballads - those forms of verse dealing with all aspects of life on the motorway.

Media: The joys of being a creative - and the woes

Advertising attracts many with its promise of fame and wealth, but the reality is harsher, says Richard Cook

Educated Rita's older sister learns to speak for herself

THE BIGGEST no-show in drama is, of course, Beckett's Godot. A character who runs Godot a close second is Ronnie, the character whose failure to arrive turns out to be a godsend in disguise for the young heroine of Roots, Arnold Wesker's landmark 1959 play beautifully revived by John Retallack in a touring co-production between Oxford Stage Company and the Palace Theatre, Watford.

Basketball: Burks saved for Leopards' finale

GREATER London Leopards' guard Eric Burks misses tomorrow's Dairylea Dunkers North v South All-Star game at Sheffield Arena as his coach, Billy Mims, protects one of his greatest assets for the final two weeks of the Budweiser League season.

Comedy: Knowing me, knowing who?

At a recent Royal Television Society dinner, the BBC's head of comedy, Geoffrey Perkins, used a clip from BBC2's I'm Alan Partridge as the climax to a state-of-the-nation address about the sitcom. It was greeted - even by an audience of jaded industry insiders - with rapturous applause.

Train driver cleared of manslaughter in fatal crash

THE DRIVER of a commuter train involved in a crash that killed one passenger was yesterday found not guilty of manslaughter.
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Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent