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Among Christians, Anglicans are the most consistently authoritarian and conservative, while Catholics are more likely to be left-wing

Reach for the skies

This winter's solstice on Friday marks the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar. But then, less you run for the bunkers, the end of one time, according to the Mayan and many ancient civilizations, merely presages the beginning of another in the endless recycle or birth and rebirth.

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 WRESTLER: Pro wrestling legend Muhammad Hussain Inoki, on left standing in the back of the vehicle, visited Qayyum Stadium in Peshawar, Pakistan. Still known in his native Japan by his performing moniker of Antonio Inoki, he came to Pakistan with several Japanese pro wrestlers as part of the Wrestling for Peace festival held under his name.

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.

UN criticises 'dire' camps for Rohingya refugees

Tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims forced from their homes into refugee camps are living in a "dire" situation, the UN's senior humanitarian official says. Baroness Amos called on the Burmese government to act to end the ethnic violence and said all political leaders in the country should support the efforts.

Duncan Fletcher: India's coach has presided over side's fall from first to fifth in the rankings

The Indian Angle: Futures of Dhoni, Fletcher and national game at stake

Indians did not actually say – as Viv Richards once did after India had beaten the West Indies on an underprepared track in Chennai – "come home and we'll show you". But it was implied after MS Dhoni's men lost the series in England 4-0 last year. Well, England have come, and it is India who are being shown up. It might be too early to write India off in the Kolkata Test, but if the England players take time out to check the price of champagne here, it is understandable.

China overturns decades of bureaucracy to relax visa rules and allow short-break visitors to experience Beijing

Tourists in 2013 will be able to experience Red China without being entangled in red tape

Muslim children from the Rohingya ethnic group at a refugee camp in the state capital

Outbreak of ethnic violence claims 100 lives in Burma's west

Aung San Suu Kyi and others accused of failing to speak out against persecution

Postcard from... China

The network of caves in Dunhuang in the far west of China rank among the wonders of the world. The 800 grottoes are home to frescoes a millennium old and more, placed there by devout Buddhist merchants about to embark on the treacherous Silk Road through the Gobi Desert.

Crackdown ordered in Bangladesh after burning of Buddhist temples

Authorities in Bangladesh have ordered security officials to remain alert around official camps of Rohingya Muslims following weekend attacks on minority Buddhists and their temples in the area.

Bangladeshi Muslims torch Buddhist temples near border with Burma over burned Koran

Thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims set fire to at least 10 Buddhist temples and 40 homes in anger over a Facebook photo of a burned Koran before authorities restored order.

Nazi statue made from intergalactic space dust

In 1938 a team of Nazi scientists, funded by Heinrich Himmler went looting in Tibet, where Himmler believed the Aryan race originated.

As a politician, Aung San Suu Kyi must now consider her voters

Burma's Rohingya Muslims: Aung San Suu Kyi's blind spot

They suffer appalling violence and discrimination, but so far Aung San Suu Kyi has been notably silent on their plight

HMS Victory, the 1737 predecessor to Nelson’s flagship, was lost with all hands in 1744 in the English Channel. Armed with 100 bronze cannon, it was found in 2008, damaged by trawlers and still at risk

Scientist warns trawler damage to shipwrecks will result in an archaeological catastrophe

International action is urgently required to save the world's imperilled historic shipwrecks from the ravages of commercial fishing, experts have warned.

HMS Victory, the 1737 predecessor to Nelson’s flagship, was lost with all hands in 1744 in the English Channel. Armed with 100 bronze cannon, it was found in 2008, damaged by trawlers and still at risk

You're wrecking our wrecks! Experts warn of damage trawlers are doing to maritime history

Archaeologists want sunken vessels to be given the same levels of protection as threatened marine ecosystems

The investigation by Thai academics has discovered that 45 per cent of monks are obese while a full 40 per cent of them suffer from congenital diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Many of them also suffer from various allergies.

Enlightenment needed: Thailand's Buddhist monks to get food lessons after study shows nearly half are obese

The Buddhist monks of Thailand are not known to be an especially active bunch. Prayers, chanting and the collecting of alms take up much of their time.

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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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there