Life and Style According to the hospital's union secretary, the A&E department resembled a 'M.A.S.H. unit' on Wednesday

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

Beirut Stories

There is no law that says you have to be a Saudi billionaire to bid for political power in Lebanon but it does seem to help; plus, a novel way of clearing the city of litter

Travel: Insider's guide to... Beirut

What's the weather like?

THE PLACE THAT CHANGED ME: BRIAN KEENAN

The former hostage and now author looks for inner peace on the western edge of Ireland

How we met: John McCarthy & Brian Keenan

John McCarthy, 42, was born in Barnet, Hertfordshire. He worked as a journalist for the Beirut-based television news agency WTN. While covering the story of hostage Brian Keenan he was kidnapped and himself held hostage for 1,943 days. John recently married and lives with his wife, Anna, in Fulham

The veil of history

Beirut is rising from the ruins of its recent devastation - a shining new city built to efface appalling memories. Yet the violence - and miracles - that define modern Lebanon are indivisible from those of a long and turbulent past

Week in the Life: Patrick Smith, Beirut grocer - A sharp trader who'd do anything for a tenor

ON MONDAY morning, the generators roar. It's 34 degrees Centigrade in the shade and Patrick Smith is writing cheques; to suppliers, to the Electricite du Liban, running his finger over the accounts he still keeps in a large leather-bound book.

Film: Home, home on the terribly narrow range

The Hi-Lo Country (15) Stephen Frears; 127 mins West Beirut (15) Ziad Doueiri; 105 mins South (no cert) Frank Hurley; 71 mins The Nights of Cabiria (PG) Federico Fellini; 117 mins Koyaanisqatsi (U) Godfrey Reggio; 86 mins Mulan (U) Barry Cook/Tony Bancroft; 89 mins

Books: A lifetime vanishes in the rubble

Unreal City by Tony Hanania Bloomsbury pounds 15.99

Film: Full of Middle Eastern promise

Ziad Doueiri's debut movie is close to home. It's about teenagers living through a civil war in the country he fled from 15 years ago.

Israeli planes attack Beirut power station

ISRAELI WARPLANES last night rocketed a Beirut power station and hit a Hizbollah guerrilla base in Baalbek in north-eastern Lebanon. Seven Lebanese and two Israelis were reported killed in the attacks. Israel also bombed a bridge linking southern Lebanon to the north.

Letter: Depression drugs

Sir: There is evidence that stress precipitates depression in the vulnerable but we do not know whether this is a modern phenomenon. Rates of clinical depression appear to be the same the world over - the percentage of people suffering from clinical depression in Paris is the same as those in Beirut.

City Life-Beirut: Pity the nation that is paralysed by corruption

HAVE YOU heard the one about the former Lebanese minister who was sent three army trucks and told to fill them up with $3m (pounds 1.8m) worth of ill-gotten carpets, furniture and jewellery if he wished to avoid prosecution for accepting bribes? Or the one about the ex-minister who paid exorbitant fees to a construction company for a new highway roundabout as part of a deal to share the favours of the company manager's wife? Or about the minister with an import licence for fire extinguishers who demanded legislation forcing every motorist in Lebanon to carry a fire extinguisher?

Jury Out on System that Claims to Turn Hate into Love

MANY PRISONERS who have undertaken the Kairos-APAC project claim to have undergone a remarkable transformation. Men used to the violence and hatred often present in prisons are said to have been overwhelmed by the love and care they receive from other Kairos members.
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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
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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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After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
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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
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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

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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

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Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
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Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
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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

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