News A statue of Alexander the Great in the northern Greek city of Salonica. Scientists believe they may have solved the 2000 year old mystery of how the ruler died

A leading toxicologist has said that Alexander the Great may have died after drinking wine made from a poisonous plant that would have cause a slow and painful death

The Kingdom, Soho Theatre, London

Three Irishmen in dusty suits – one young, one old, one middle-aged – hack at the rocks and shovel away the pieces on a stark building site. And as they dig, they buttonhole us with tales that gradually merge into one narrative whose lineaments begin to evince a disturbing familiarity.

In Other World: SF and the Human Imagination By Margaret Atwood

Atwood has long been accused of literary elitism for refusing to align herself with the SF brigade.

Ye Shiwen

Chicanery in pursuit of glory is as old as sport but reactions are telling

A small matter of 104 years ago, a Boer War veteran by the name of Lieutenant Wyndham Halswelle won the gold medal in the 440-yard sprint at the first London Games. He had started as a fairly warm favourite: not because he was the Michael Johnson of the era, but because there was nobody else in the race. The American contender John Carpenter had been disqualified for deliberately impeding Halswelle in the first running of the contest, a furiously disputed decision that persuaded the two remaining finalists, also from the land of the free, to take up their running spikes and push off home without running another inch.

A badminton official talks to China's Yu Yang on Tuesday

Chris Hewett: Badminton smells fishy but cheating in pursuit of glory is as old as sport

The critic without a ticket: Someone will surely pull a similar stunt at these Olympics, but nowhere near as arrogantly

July 12, 2012: Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, tests out a bed during his visit to the 2012 Olympic Park and Olympic Village in London.

Mayor Boris Johnson steals show as IOC is welcomed to London

London mayor Boris Johnson stole the show from the Royal Ballet and opera stars such as Placido Domingo as the International Olympic Committee were welcomed to London last night.

Natalie Haynes: I don't want the world to know what I watch curled up on the sofa

Notebook: I can’t get past the belief that the rewards for the consumer are smaller than the rewards for the provider

The 10 Best photography books

From Magnum contact sheets to portraits by Mario Testino, there’s something here for everyone to feast their eyes on...

Spa Star: Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Switzerland

Treatment of the Month: Golden Honey massage

Natalie Haynes: Here's why Latin is so useful, Mr Burnham

On Question Time week Andy Burnham made the latest in a series of digs about what he perceives to be the irrelevance of Latin. Speaking of Michael Gove's English baccalaureate, he expressed dismay that Gove had "found room for Latin and ancient Hebrew, but not for engineering or ICT. "How," he asked, "can that be the answer to the challenges we face in the modern world?"

Archaeologists in Greece uncover Roman road

Archaeologists in Greece's second-largest city have uncovered a 70-metre section of an ancient road built by the Romans that was city's main travel artery nearly 2,000 years ago.

Natalie Haynes: It's not Latin's fault that toffs and Tories studied it

Notebook: Quite aside from how useful Latin is in the jobs market, it is also good for your soul

De Botton: Society is “awash with porn”

Alain De Botton to explore the consolations of pornography

Alain de Botton has addressed love, happiness and religion. Now he wants to investigate pornography in the belief it can be turned into a moral and noble industry.

A game of Pawns? Dragon’s Dogma launch trailer released

See just why Dragon’s Dogma is raising so many eyebrows amongst fans of action games and RPGs alike.

Revamped combat system and online multiplayer confirmed for God of War: Ascension

New online options to offer up to eight player battles across a variety of multiplayer modes.

Just what exactly can we expect from Kratos in God of War: Ascension?

Across five games and through much of ancient Greece he’s wreaked havoc, but where should Kratos be heading now?

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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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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