Voices

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The poster boy for motor neurone disease

It's the illness that strikes without warning and can kill within months. So how does Alistair Banks stay so optimistic? Nick Duerden reports

Car Choice: Elderly mothers deserve the best in comfort and style

Mike Ford has an unusual request: a vehicle suitable to transport a couple of elderly mothers, who are 93 and 95 respectively. At the moment Mike has to cope with one wheelchair; now he envisages that before long he will need to accommodate two. So access to the boot needs to be easy as heaving the chairs in and out is an issue. A wide opening passenger door would be good and the budget is a generous £15,000 to £20,000.

Patients to get choice of providers

Patients will be given a choice of providers for mental health and community NHS services, the Government has announced.

Lisa Gunn: The art of survival

A horrific car crash nearly killed artist Lisa Gunn, and left her with spinal injuries. She explains how her damaged body inspired a whole new dimension to her work

Hope returns to Juarez ... riding a big pink motorbike

On the streets of a Mexican border town notorious for its vicious drug war, 'Las Guerreras', a brave group of female bikers, are fighting back. William Lloyd-George reports

Mammuth, Benoît Delépine, Gustave Kervern, 92 mins (PG)

A meat-processing worker mounts his bike in search of his pension; but the real story is that, although Gérard Depardieu has become porky, his career is still in good shape

Dom Joly: I wasn't prepared for audience participation

I'm so new to this live performance business that I'm learning as I go. Last week, I faced my first heckles, which were actually quite fun, but there is a limit to how much you can let someone try to take over a show. I'm quite happy to wade in and take someone on, and am certainly capable of holding my own. The problem is that some people just enjoy the attention, even if they are being verbally mutilated – they just end up shouting anything to keep the spotlight on themselves. I wasn't sure of the form here. Was I supposed to just carry on? Did I have to keep taking them on until they lay on the floor weeping and conceding defeat? Could I simply ask them to leave, or would that be admitting failure?

The Earl of Onslow: Colourful hereditary peer who advocated reform of the House of Lords

It is a measure both of Michael Onslow's courage and tireless sense of duty that within weeks of his death from cancer he was still active in the Lords; his last speech was made only three weeks before he died. Paradoxically, although he served it well, he thought the House of Lords was well past its sell-by date.

Sloane Crosley: 'Get your contact sport fix by walking in the most crowded and intolerable part of town at rush hour'

The one sport I ever played with any consistency is tennis, and the term "tennis team" is a ridiculous misnomer, surpassed only by "equestrian team". (Though, at least, the horse pitches in there.) I cannot name you one instance in which my fellow teammates reached their rackets across the doubles line to rescue a missed return, popping back into their own game with a wink and a nod as if to say "You'll get me next time". Nor have I seen swimmers do the 100m relay version of "get out and push". You can root for those on your team, but their fates do not rest on how enthusiastically you clap.

Police wheelchair attack on Jody McIntyre 'lawful'

Police officers were justified in pulling a protester from his wheelchair and "inadvertently" hitting him with a baton at the student fees demonstrations, an inquiry has found.

Larry Flynt: Freedom fighter, pornographer, monster?

He's been lauded as a crusader for free speech. But he got rich by depicting women being raped in concentration camps and has been accused of molesting his daughter. Who is the real Larry Flynt?

The Week In Radio: A philosophy lesson that's most enlightening

Eerie though it was that the killing of Bin Laden should coincide with a Start the Week devoted to the problem of evil, I don't imagine its message would go down too well with the headline writers. Because instead of talking about "Evil", according to the neuroscientist Simon Baron-Cohen, we should be referring to "a radical lack of empathy". According to his theory, which has prompted widespread interest already, around 10 sites in the brain are responsible for our empathy circuit, which affects our ability to commit callous acts, and this circuit depends on an interplay of genes and environment. Those with zero empathy need treatment. "Rather than putting them in prison we should be treating them in the health service. Empathy deficit is a disability no different from being in a wheelchair," he said.

Julie Burchill: Supermodel to super-role-model: what women can learn from Cindy Crawford

Pity the poor supermodel! In an interview with Parade magazine, Cindy Crawford says "I do feel like an outsider now. I just saw the CoverGirl commercial with Taylor Swift and I thought, 'Wow, it is so hard for models to get a job these days.' You have to sing and act, too..."

Video: 'Bionic legs' to help wheelchair users

Wheelchair users have been amazed by robotic legs which could help them to walk again.

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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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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'