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The two sisters sat in the airport lounge, waiting for their flight to Kerala. It was delayed. They were keen to get going. Their mother had died the day before and they were going to settle her affairs. “She had a good life. She lived to 97,” explained one of the sisters. “You know what her secret was? Coconuts.”

Master the mountain: Snowsports can be daunting. Self-hypnosis or extra lessons can help nervous skiers

Feel the fear and ski anyway

After five years away from the slopes, Tracey Davies found the prospect of heading back to the piste terrifying. But a chance encounter taught her a new way to cope with her nerves

Simon Kelner: Jobs was admirable, yes, but spare me the details

A lmost every day, this column is written on an iPad. It is the single most impressive, most useful, most versatile piece of technology of my lifetime.

Verdi Simon Boccanegra, English National Opera

It doesn’t take long to establish that there is an extraordinary director at work here. The body language, the tangible involvement of every character on stage, the way in which emotional journeys are charted and feelings expressed not just in song but in the involuntary sounds that people make when they communicate joy, anger, hatred. Dmitri Tcherniakov understands that the bigger the statement the more it needs to be rooted in truth.

Milly Dowler's mother sobs in witness box

Milly Dowler's mother collapsed in tears today after being questioned about her daughter's last few days.

Paedophile jailed for 16 years

A paedophile whose partner is accused of murdering their two children in a Spanish hotel has been jailed for 16 years.

Nowegian Wood (15)

Starring: Kenichi Matsuyama, Rinko Kikuchi, Kengo Kôra

Edzard Ernst: We need less opinion and more scientific research

There is no good evidence to show that the prescriptions of herbalists do more good than harm

Man found guilty of using hypnotism to abuse girl

A man whose partner is accused of murdering their two children is facing jail after using hypnotism and violence to sexually abuse a girl.

George Thomas: Alternative medicine - why it can do more harm than good

Flying from India to attend the Battle of Ideas festival last month, I spoke on the panel of a lively debate entitled “Alternative medicine: the pros and cons”, where I outlined the reasons why I oppose alternative and complementary medicine.

Government ignored our advice on homeopathic remedies, say experts

Treatments still funded on NHS despite lack of proof that they work

Magnets can improve Alzheimer's symptoms

To sceptics of alternative medicine, it will come as a surprise. Applying magnets to the brains of Alzheimer's disease sufferers helps them understand what is said to them. The finding by Italian scientsts, who conducted a randomised controlled trial of the treatment, suggests that magnets may alter "cortical activity" in the brain, readjusting unhealthy patterns caused by disease or damage. The study was small, involving just 10 patients, and the results are preliminary.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Scientists don't always know best

Sometimes we are duped by charlatans who make us believe they can relieve or cure illnesses

Acupuncture 'can act as pain relief'

Scientists have identified a mechanism which explains why acupuncture can be effective at relieving pain. Researchers found that adenosine, a natural compound with painkilling and anti-inflammatory properties, is produced in tissues where needles are inserted.

Rare rhino killed in national park

A javan rhino, one of the world's rarest large mammals, has been found shot dead with its horn chopped off in a national park.

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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
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War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

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Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

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Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

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Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

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