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While politicians agonise over the size of the Government’s debt, one of the most expensive publicly funded projects in recent years is quietly getting under way.

Syrian rebels have taken iconoclasm to new depths, with shrines, statues and even a tree destroyed – but to what end?

Compared writing poetry to the sex act? May he be turned to dust!

Fans at the World Darts Championship keep themselves entertained with the various fancy dress seen each night
Port of call: Byblos bears traces of its Phoenician past

Andy McSmith's Diary: 2013 - a year of discoveries - from secret gardens to extraterrestrial trysts

It is approaching that time of the year when you take a backward look and think to yourself: what do I know now that I didn’t know a year ago?

People gather to look at flowers and tributes left at the statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square, London

Nelson Mandela’s complex bond with Britain

The South African President’s visit to Brixton in 1996 epitomised a mixed relationship with his nation's former colonial ruler

Cambridge University's Trinity College

Don’t believe the hype: Oxbridge interviews are there to be enjoyed

If you're sat at home fretting about weird old dons setting fiendish logic puzzles - don't!

The skeleton was found in a crouched or foetal position, possibly mirroring birth

Ancient skeleton found during North Yorkshire sewer improvements

Contractors have stumbled upon an ancient skeleton while digging a sewer trench in Norton-on-Derwent, near Malton. The skeleton is thought to be of either Roman or pre-historic origin.

King Philippe of Belgium has granted royal pardons for 11 people convicted of traffic offence

Anger as Belgium's King Philippe ‘frees’ 11 people convicted of traffic offences

A Palace spokeswoman said the King was simply fulfilling his constitutional obligations by signing the pardons

The Sanssouci Palace

Fresh cuts: There are lots of pluses in Prussia

Adrian Mourby takes in Christmas markets with a gulp of glühwein and a dash of history

Streetwise: Charlie Cox in 'Legacy'

Legacy: TV review - clichés spoil a reds-under-the-bed spy story with shades of le Carré

Did they play golf in Soviet Russia? If not, then the KGB's idea of burying a secret cache in a bunker on a golf course might seem less slipshod than it did in last night's BBC2 Cold War spy thriller Legacy. After all, how was the KGB to know that British courses are full of perennially useless hackers such as myself who, when bunkered, tends to displace more sand than Lawrence of Arabia charging a Turkish goods train? I'd soon have uncovered it.

Review: Meeting the Devil: A Book of Memoir from the London Review of Books

Trauma, illness and grim remembrance comprise this memoir collection – and that’s not to mention the genital warts

The construction site of the Chateau de Guedelon which started out as an eccentric project is now an established enterprise, employing 65 people and drawing in visitors from around Europe every year

In pictures: Chateau de Guedelon in the Burgundy region of France being built using the techniques, materials and rules of the 13th Century

Chateau de Guedelon near Treigny in the Burgundy region of France is the brainchild of Michel Guyot, local landowner, and business woman Maryline Martin, now site's managing director, and has been in construction since June 1997 when the first stone was laid.

Book review: Mitterrand. A Study in Ambiguity, By Philip Short

A penetrating study of a president that captures his extravagant complexities

James Cauty, The Aftermath Dislocation Principle Parts I and II

Art review: James Cauty, The Aftermath Dislocation Principle Parts I and II

When you walk into this gallery under the arches of Hoxton Station, you are confronted by a spectacle in the best sense. The Aftermath Dislocation Principle Part I (2013) is a large installation of a post-apocalyptic Britain in which all the familiar signs of civilization have been ravaged.

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General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions