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

Burma continues to practise rights abuses, report claims

Burma’s government – hailed around the world for its flurry of recent democratic reforms – stood by as its security forces raped and murdered members of a long-persecuted ethnic minority, a new report has alleged.

Looted treasures returned to Afghanistan by British Museum

The British Museum, aided by British police and the UK Border Force, has helped return to Afghanistan hundreds of looted antiquities seized from smugglers, The Independent can reveal.

Tibetan mother dies in fire protest

A Tibetan mother of three has died in the latest in a recent wave of self-immolations to protest against Chinese rule, according to reports.

Gambling, drinking Buddhist monks shown raising hell in luxury South Korea hotel video footage

Six leaders from South Korea's biggest Buddhist order have quit after secret video footage showed some supposedly serene monks raising hell, playing high-stakes poker, drinking and smoking.

Writer Simon Usborne takes time out at his desk to savour a single raisin

Mindful eating: How to think more and eat less

'Mindful eating' is gaining followers among those who want to give deeper thought to their food. Will guzzler Simon Usborne become a convert?

Children light candles during a service near Heijo Palace in Nara, central Japan

A year on from Japan's day of disaster: 'I still can't believe we lived through it'

Japan fell silent yesterday to remember last year's 11 March earthquake and tsunami, which killed 19,000 people, triggered a still unresolved nuclear crisis and drove hundreds of thousands of refugees from their homes.

Sally May May (with a Korean hornbeam) had always been interested in trees, when a friend took her to a bonsai show in Bournemouth in 2003. 'Between me and my husband, we have more than 100 now. I love their shape and beauty, and the fact that they personify a large tree in a small area. I've got a hornbeam that's my favourite - it has a lovely, crinkly trunk. It's had more and more branches on it in the three years I've had it.' The Mays live in Salisbury, and are members of the Swindon Bonsai society. Has bonsai taken over Sally's life? She laughs. 'It can be a lot of work. I suppose it has in a way. But not so much, as I also have rabbits.'

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

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.

Around 24 Tibetans are believed to have set themselves on fire in the past year

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.

Conversion to non-violence: Ashoka Pillar at the Maya Devi Temple, Lumbini, Nepal

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."

A tea estate on the Knuckles

Tea break: Discover vertical rock climbs and giant Buddhas in a Sri Lankan idyll

Going to Sri Lanka for the first time gave us an excuse to buy some new maps. That's how our journeys always start. The journey we worked out took us straight from Colombo on the west coast up to the ancient sites of Dambulla and Polonnaruwa, in the centre of the island.

Young monks run back to class at the Dechen Phodrang monastery in Thimphu

Is Bhutan the happiest place in the world?

Andrew Buncombe visits Bhutan to find out if its people really are as content as they claim to be.

Sixty heritage workers are resurrecting the temple of Banteay Chhmar

Cambodia's lost temple, reclaimed from the jungle after 800 years

Experts use 3D imaging to undo ravages of time and thieves at the haunting Banteay Chhmar site

Tibetan monks jailed over self-immolation

Two Tibetan Buddhist monks have been jailed for assisting in the death of a 16-year-old colleague who set himself alight.

Kristin Hersh, Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh

"So many memories," reflects Kristin Hersh, leafing through a copy of Paradoxical Undressing, her 2010 memoir, which has formed the basis of this show of the same name both before and after its publication. It's proven a rich vein so far, with her return to Edinburgh yielding two Book Festival appearances – one spoken, one performing – and two more typical gigs such as this at the Edge music festival. These latter events are more Hersh's regular style, rock venue gigs which merge solo song and electric guitar with unconnected spoken word excerpts from the book.

Dalai Lama swears in new Tibetan prime minister

The Dalai Lama has led a ceremony to swear in a new prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile who takes over the Buddhist leader's political role.

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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
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy