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15-21 DECEMBER 2012


Tragedy brings gun law focus

The horrific details of the mass shooting at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, began to emerge. Twenty children and six adults were killed, prompting calls for tighter gun controls in the US.


Taking flight

With university fees rocketing to up to #163;9,000 a year in England, students are increasingly considering studying abroad. A university in Florida has opened a London office to recruit school-leavers, The Sunday Times reported.


It's all in the mind

Fancy yourself as a bit of a grandmaster? Then follow the action in Beijing at the World Mind Games, which will test the wits of top players in chess, bridge, draughts and xiang qi - that's Chinese chess, don't you know.


A home victory

The vociferous home education lobby won the backing of politicians, with the Commons Education Select Committee saying it should be free for home-educated children to take GCSEs.


Phwoar, not war

It may be almost 2013, but the march of time has not brought an end to the Miss Universe pageant, taking place in Las Vegas. I would like to dedicate myself to world peace... and eliminating sexism.


A messi business

If you're a Manchester City or Chelsea fan, look away now: the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League is made today. United and Arsenal are still in the running and will be desperate to avoid a trip to Barcelona.


Let your hair down

Breathe deep for the final push. Just get through today and then it's time for a gin and tonic and some dry roasted peanuts at the end-of-term bash. Remember to behave yourselves by the photocopier.


22-28 DECEMBER 2012


Away in a range rover

And so the joy of the festive period really begins... with predictions of jammed roads. Today is expected to be the busiest of the week as people start - sing along now - driving home for Christmas.


A royal break

Merry Christmas Ma'am. The Queen and members of the royal family are expected to begin their holiday at Sandringham, although Kate may have to give it a miss because of sickness caused by pregnancy.


A bed for the night

Homelessness charity Crisis will provide thousands of people with hot meals, a warm bed and access to healthcare and other advice at its Christmas centres. Last year 21,000 hot meals were served over the week.


Eat, drink and be merry

Can't imagine what most of you are up to today. But it wouldn't be 25 December without a surfeit of sprouts, a barrel-load of booze and a few wildly competitive games of charades.


Stranger than fiction

Did you get it in your stocking? The year's overall winner of the National Book Awards is announced today, following a public vote. Will 50 Shades of Grey beat (geddit?) My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding?


Grab yourself a bargain

You may have spent all your hard-earned pennies on Christmas, but for those who haven't had enough of mindless consumerism just yet, good news: the winter sales are now on.


Season of goodwill

Lie in while listening to Radio 4's Today programme, guest-edited by Melinda Gates. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (yes, the Microsoft billionaire) has given stacks of cash to education and healthcare projects.

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