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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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Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
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Lewis Hamtilon and pole-sitter Nico Rosberg
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Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin