Arts and Entertainment

Despite my obsession with Game of Thrones and Lucy Worsley’s The First Georgians right now, I am still televisually smitten with MTV’s Catfish. The show that exposes online love fraudsters. The throwaway youth TV show that one’s mind just cannot throw away. Instead, one sits post- episode genuinely saddened that our human need to love and be loved is so destructive. Or that  the earth’s supply of gullible optimists may well be infinite.

Ravi Bopara goes on the attack during England's 172-run victory over a Prime Ministers XI

ODI series: Alastair Cook fails to score once again, but at least there's some relief for England

Cook was walking back to the pavilion within the first over but Ravi Bopara stares with the ball to earn 172-run victory

Bart Simpson chalks the show's apology on the detention blackboard during the opening credits

The Simpsons apologise to Judas Priest after the show describes them as 'death metal'

A scripting error saw the heavy metal band misclassified in an earlier episode

Kanye West is a suspect in another battery investigation after he allegedly punched an 18-year-old boy for hurling racial abuse at his fiancée, Kim Kardashian.

Kanye West allegedly punches 18-year-old boy for hurling racial slurs at Kim Kardashian

West is already facing charges of battery after a separate altercation with a photographer, Daniel Ramos, at LAX Airport last summer

Empire State Building sues Allen Henson for $1m over topless photoshoot

Court papers say Mr Henson took the pictures for commercial purposes

HMV closes historic Oxford Street store

The store was the biggest music shop in the world, covering 60,000-sq-ft over three floors

Art as an Investment? A Survey of Comparative Assets, by Melanie Gerlis - book review: What's wrong with this picture? A great deal

Should we be putting our money into art? Melanie Gerlis, who works for The Art Newspaper, urges caution in this new book. Why? Because the world of art buying and selling is much trickier, and more slippery and open to abuse, than it seems to the innocent outsider. Who is to say what a contemporary painting, perhaps the work of a single furious night, is really worth?

Sir Ian McKellen joined Nobel-winning chemist Sir Harry Kroto in formulating the demand

27 Nobel laureates join Sir Ian McKellen to protest over Russia's gay ‘propaganda’ ban

In an open letter to President Vladimir Putin and the Russian people given exclusively to The Independent, they speak out against homophobic legislation which activists say has led to violence and even suicides among gay people

Gwilym Simcock, gig review: 'All hugely accomplished'

Kings Place, London

Maroon 5, gig review, The O2

O2, London

Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid is one of the few women who has made it to the top

Sexism means women still can’t break the glass ceiling in architecture

Leading architects have called for more to be done to help women reach the top of profession

Kylie Minogue's arrival as a judge for The Voice saw the BBC show thrash ITV's Splash

Kylie Minogue pulls in extra 2m viewers for The Voice

BBC show thrashes ITV's Splash, where viewing figures dived

A history of music censorship

This week marks the 30th anniversary of BBC banning radio play of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's 'Relax'

The Bonus Track: Evan Dando, The Kinks, Warpaint and... Inspiral Carpets?

A sideways look at the world of music

Book review: 'Snowpiercer: Volume 1, The Escape' by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette

A train that even an Ice Age can’t stop? Oh, it’s French

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Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
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After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
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food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
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Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas