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

A Journey to Mount Athos, By François Augiérastrs Sue Dyson and Christopher Moncrieff

A youth finds himself in a strange village, near the sea, in the cool of the evening. He does not know how he got there, or who he is. A beautiful young woman explains that he is dead; if he becomes her lover, she will return him to the land of the living. Though tempted, he chooses instead to travel further into the land of death, to the island of Athos where he will try to reach the summit of the Holy Mountain.

'Buddha Boy' reappears after year in jungle

They asked not where he had been or what he had been doing. Instead thousands of jubilant devotees simply trudged to the remote jungle spot in south-east Nepal where a teenage "Buddha Boy" reappeared to preach to villagers, more than a year after he went missing.

Credo: Shi Yan Fen

Trainee Shaolin monk, 17

Bhutan celebrates coronation of new king

The tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan crowned its new king today after a two-year wait for the precise moment deemed most auspicious for a successful reign.

Last Night's Television: LIFE, ITV3<br />Russell Brand's Ponderland, Channel 4

This La-La land lawman offers no instant karma

Burma monk disrobed over street protests

The Burmese monk who helped organise the huge street demonstrations against the country's military rulers has been disrobed by the authorities in contravention of Buddhist traditions.

Empires of the Indus, By Alice Albinia

A river runs through this journey of discovery about Pakistan's history

Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame (PG)

From Afghan ruins and the Taliban, another amazing Makhmalbaf

Serene dream: Ruby Wax thinks big in Thailand and Laos

The landscape of Laos is glorious to behold &ndash; and its inhabitants radiate inner calm. Ruby Wax travelled there to discover her spiritual side, by way of northern Thailand, a disobedient elephant and a George Clooney lookalike

Thich Huyen Quang: Dissident Buddhist leader

In a life dedicated to peaceful protest, Thich Huyen Quang, head of an outlawed Buddhist church in Vietnam, opposed French colonial rule, the US-backed government of South Vietnam and then the Communist government that swept to power and reunified the country in 1975. He must have lost count of the years he spent in and out of house arrest.

Discover the world's great religions

Free: an eight-day series with The Independent and The Independent on Sunday print editions

Japanese temple refuses to host Olympic torch relay

A major Japanese Buddhist temple withdrew yesterday from a plan to host the Beijing Olympics torch relay, citing safety concerns and sympathy among its monks and worshippers for Tibetan protesters facing a Chinese crackdown.

Chaos in Tibet capital as protests spread

Protesters in Tibet's capital Lhasa burnt shops and vehicles and yelled for independence today as the region was hit by its biggest protests for nearly two decades, testing China's grip months before the Olympics.

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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