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Patients were left on trolleys outside the toilets and staff were reduced to tears, according to reports

Freed hostage faces task of recovering normality

As Peter Moore's hellish hostage ordeal finally draws to a close he now has the difficult task of picking up the threads of his old life.

Robert Fisk: How the anti-Semites of Hizbollah have sent Anne Frank back into hiding

World Focus: The Jewish Holocaust is not a subject which Arabs have learned to live with

Travel Agenda: Winter Wonderland; The British Museum; Four Seasons in Beirut

Today...

The festive season gets underway in Gloucester with the Winter Wonderland. Expect fir trees, an ice cave, Santa's grotto, market stalls, a Spiegeltent with live music – even snow ( christmasingloucester.co.uk).

Stay the night: Le Gray, Beirut

The long-awaited arrival of this chic hotel confirms the Lebanese capital has regained its old spirit

Dom Joly: The guns have fallen silent on the golf course

To Beirut golf course (le "Royal Beirut" as it's known to locals wags) for a leisurely round. I haven't played here since I was about 12 years old. This is where I swung my very first golf club. There was an Egyptian pro who gave me lessons.

Robert Fisk’s World: Beirut's history can't be reduced to a mere 'heritage trail'

The Romans were here. The Crusaders were here, and then the Muslims came

Robert Fisk: End of an era for Lebanon's free press

Once a bastion of journalistic independence, Beirut's newspapers are losing their edge

Fixers risk their lives helping to shine light on the evils of war

Jeremy Bowen pays tribute to the locals who help journalists to work in war-zones – and defends Stephen Farrell after the deaths of his colleague and a British soldier

Robert Fisk’s World: Not even a civil war could stop the old bookbinder of Beirut

Riyad is a man who gives context to this city in which I have lived these 33 years

Obits in Brief: Amin al-Hafez

The former Lebanese Prime Minister Amin al-Hafez, who served a turbulent two-month term in 1973 before he was forced to resign, died in Beirut on 13 June at the age of 83.

For a real taste of Lebanon, go back to the land

A Beirut-based organisation is trying to promote Lebanese traditions. Its initiatives open up a whole new view of this country, for locals and visitors alike, says Joy Lo Dico

The Storyteller, By Rabih Alameddine

Alameddine, his name apparently a derivative of Aladdin, rejoices in the ability to spin a story that lasts for 1,001 nights, while simultaneously describing the effects of Israeli attacks on his homeland, Lebanon, over the past 30 years. With enviable ease, he weaves in the magic of the Arabian nights, the loss of his childhood home so many years ago, and his visit to his slowly dying father, to create something that feels both postmodern and traditional at the same time.

The Locust and the Bird, By Hanan Al-Shaykh trans Roger Allen

Exile and displacement can provoke heroic stories of quests and adventures: tales fraught with nostalgia, narratives pierced by willed gaps. From contemporary diasporas there pours a stream of autobiographical writing, which we thirst for in order to invigorate our sense of our parched world. This tender memoir, The Locust and the Bird, taking off from the folklore motif of the attraction of opposites, courageously addresses both the themes of geographical separation and the jagged motifs of mother-daughter conflict. Finally, it draws them beautifully together.

Beirut, The Forum, London

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