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The stellar explosion is the closest to be spotted since 1987 and will provide a 'galactic yardstick' for astronomers judging distances across the universe

Imps' improvement is fired by cigars

A surge in sales of Cuban cigars in China and other emerging markets has helped Imperial Tobacco report a 3 per cent rise in sales for the past nine months.

Under new management: Fidel Castro's brother, Raul, has introduced 313 guidelines to relax the economy - although many ordinary people believe the elite are merely buying time

Cuba: The second revolution?

For the first time since the 1959 coup, Cubans are able to buy and sell property, set up businesses and farm their own land. Could these new liberties signal a move towards a free-market economy? Don't count on it, says Margareta Pagano.

A man sells second-hand books in Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad

Robert Fisk: The Baghdad street of books that refuses to die

Saad Tahr Hussein rushes me through the narrow alleyway towards Mutanabbi Street, where the concrete wall in front of the central bank hems in the pedestrians. About a thousand Iraqis briefly see – or don't notice – the sly shade of a Brit as he stumbles down the alley. Then, in the square where the statue of old Marouf al-Rasafi, poet and history-debunker under British colonial rule, glares at the crowds, we turn left into the street of books.

Harriet Walker, right, enjoys a cigar with Edita Nemethova

Happiness is a hotel cigar evening for new generation of female smokers

Would Harriet Walker be hooked by the latest trend sweeping London's social scene? You're Havana laugh

Djokovic’s altitude training has helped him to reach peak fitness

James Corrigan: Wada's bigwigs need to get off their high horses

The Way I See It: Altitude training is not a health risk – so how then could it possibly be against the spirit of sport?

The Moonlite Bunny Ranch Brothel outside Carson City has a collection box for Paul’s campaign

Pimping for Paul – Nevada brothels back the libertarian contender

In a state built on rugged individualism, Ron Paul is a major Republican player

Imps sees its sales damaged by Syria sanctions

Sanctions against war-torn Syria have hit sales at Imperial Tobacco, maker of JPS and Davidoff cigarettes, the firm said yesterday.

Strip search: David Schneider lives it up in Vegas

The secret to success in Las Vegas? No gambling...

You can fly there in style, stay in the newest hotel on the Strip, see a show, even fire a gun. But the secret to success in Las Vegas? No gambling

Hold The Back Page: 16/07/2011

Khan proves a hit with the ladies

Boxing has never had much of a female fan base, and even its popularity with chaps is diminishing after recent aberrations, but step forward Amir Khan – on a one-man mission to get more ladies to the bouts.

The really big smoke: world's longest cigar

A Cuban aficionado has rolled the world's longest cigar – measuring 268ft 4in.

Who needs Mickey when Winter's on your side?

A new film about an injured dolphin is about to put Florida's Gulf coast in the spotlight. But there are more reasons to come here, says Kate Simon

Malcolm Allison

Lack of space perhaps prevented Ivan Ponting's typically admirable tribute to Malcolm Allison (16 October) mentioning his brief sojourn as manager at then non-League Yeovil Town in 1981, writes KG Banks.

Cement flows for permanent plug of BP's Gulf well

Crews pumped cement into BP's blown-out oil well thousands of feet below the sea bottom today, working to finally seal the runaway well.

Alejandro Robaina: Tobacco farmer regarded as the godfather of the Cuban cigar industry

Alejandro Robaina, the "godfather" of the Cuban tobacco industry, was widely regarded as one of the finest cigar producers in the world. He started smoking at the age of 10, and eventually five cigars bore his family name – a unique distinction.

Godfather of the Cuban cigar dies, aged 91

Cuba was in mourning yesterday for the godfather of its most celebrated national product – a thing so good that the United States has felt compelled to ban it from its shops for half a century – the Cuban cigar.

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The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
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peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
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Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
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The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
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One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
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Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
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Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
musicReview: 1989's songs attempt to encapsulate dramatic emotional change in a few striking lines
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Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
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Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Bruges
India & Nepal
Japan
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker