Peking looks to new year of the ox to bless the reclaimimg of Hong Kong

Stephen Vines on why a new boss makes a monkey of Patten

The stars at night The sky as it will appear appear in mid-February at 10pm

There is a hint of a new season in the night sky this month, with the appearance of Leo, the most prominent constellation of spring, in the east. It will move to centre-stage high in the south during March and April.

The stars at night The sky as it will appear appear in mid-January at 10pm

January sees the stars putting on their finest display of the year. The really brilliant constellations of Orion, Gemini and Taurus will be riding high in the south. You'll also spot Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, appearing to flash all the colours of the rainbow. This is nothing to do with the star itself, but an effect caused by seeing it low in the sky through countless layers of our churning atmosphere.

heavenly The far-out influence of Pluto

Currently there seems to be a raft of books concerned with bridging the generations.

Heavenly chaos, where astrologers thrive

Armistice Day next week finds several countries still mired in devastating civil wars.

Mumbo-jumbo is losing its magic

Every success story experiences a backlash. And now it is the turn of the management gurus to be lambasted in the way that members of the Royal Family have long been familiar with.

heavenly are Blair's planets sweet?

November 5th will once more see The Guy burned in effigy, despite recent attempts at his rehabilitation by Antonia Fraser. It will also be Election Day in the United States, as it is on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November every four years. With Clinton's 20-point lead in the polls, Hillary will not be conjuring the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt to divine the winner.

President locks up the bringer of bad news

The Venezuelan President did not like his horoscope. It said he was going to die next spring.

Ariens suffer road rage, Scorpios stay sane

The money men are seeing stars, says Michael Drewett (Sagittarius)

City Diary: The inflated cost of the the millennium party

A forward-thinking hotel in Country Durham is taking a punt on inflation rising steeply over the next few years. The Redworth Hotel and Country Club near Darlington has started selling "end of the millennium" party tickets for 31 December 1999.

Brown dwarfs, hot Jupiters or something completely different?

They can't be seen, yet bodies orbiting other stars have finally been found. But what are they? By

Hillary seeks a guardian angel

The First Lady's tribulations have driven her to find solace on the other side, says David Usborne

Pluto and Charon, the odd couple

New images reveal the tiny planet and its moon in detail.

It's high time we started thinking about printing some end-of- the-world T-shirts

"The transformation of humankind is upon us, and there is nothing more urgent for humanity, I would most strongly suggest, than to listen to the message that is set before you here. It is impossible to overstate that urgency. The Earth and all the life she supports are in the process of changes of an incomprehensible magnitude. Nothing and no one will be the same again." (David Icke, looking ahead to the millennium.)

Shopping: Leos are extravagant, Pisceans love browsing

Does astrology govern your spending habits? By Sally Williams
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn