State of emergency in Burmese city as 20 die in sectarian violence

Burma declared a state of emergency in the central city of Meiktila today after sectarian violence left at least 20 dead, reinforcing fears that the newly democratic country is struggling to contain simmering hatred between majority Buddhists and minority Muslims.

Mariko Mori: Reach for the skies

Mariko Mori draws on the spiritual traditions of her native Japan and the mass-produced materials of the West to give her work an ethereal quality. Her new show at the Royal Academy leaves Adrian Hamilton entranced

Pakistan welcomes back a flamboyant Japanese hero of the ring

A motorized glider circled the stadium, dropping shiny shards of confetti. Male dancers from the fearsome Mehsud tribe whipped their long black hair to-and-fro in a celebratory frenzy. Boy Scouts released a balloon-bedecked "Wrestling for Peace" banner into the sky.

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It's the little things in life: What's driving a bonsai boom in

It's about intrinsic beauty, inner spirit, a synecdochical relationship with nature. It's also about battling it out on a cold spring morning to see whose tree is tops. Matthew Bell joins Britain's hardcore bonsai enthusiasts – in Swindon, of all places.

China calls Tibetan immolators criminals

Chinese officials sought today to discredit Tibetans who have set themselves on fire to protest China's rule over their region, calling them outcasts, criminals and mentally ill people manipulated by the exiled Dalai Lama.

Ashoka: The Search for India's Lost Emperor, By Charles Allen

"In the history of the world there have been thousands of kings and emperors who called themselves 'their highnesses', 'their majesties', 'their exalted majesties' and so on," HG Wells wrote in The Outline of History. "They shone for a brief moment, and as quickly disappeared. But Ashoka shines and shines brightly like a bright star, even unto this day."