Life and Style Members of Falun Gong spiritual movement meditate at the Lafayette Park. A new study has suggested that spiritual activity such as meditation may hep prevent depression by thickening the brain cortex

Those who place a high level of importance on spirituality and religion were found to have thicker cortices in the areas normally associated with thinning in people at risk, than those who did not

Ginsberg nears the end with serenity

Allen Ginsberg, founding voice of the Beat generation and the man who coined the term "flower power", has been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, it was announced yesterday. The 70-year-old poet is being cared for in his Manhattan apartment. According to his friend Bill Morgan, he is calmly writing poetry, practising Buddhist meditation and planning "to finish his life's work".

Why teaching is sexy in the States

Catherine Edwards thought she wanted to be a paediatrician and then, at the age of 19, she took a class at UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) called Education 180. "I realised that the reason I wanted to be a paediatrician was to help other people, especially children, and that I could accomplish this by being a teacher."

OBITUARY : Hugo Weisgall

The composer of 10 operas staged in the United States between 1952 and 1993, Hugo Weisgall also wrote several ballets, many songs (including eight song cycles), choral works, chamber music and liturgical settings. He was also an excellent conductor, teacher and administrator. Three of his operas, Six Characters in Search of an Author, based on Pirandello's play, Nine Rivers from Jordan, with a text by Denis Johnson, and Esther, taken from the Bible, were derived from works by Wedekind, Strindberg, Yeats, Racine and Mishima. In 1995 he won the William Shuman Award, donated by Columbia University to an American composer for a lifetime's achievement.

Marriage Plc: make sure you read the small print

Behind every corporate man is a corporate wife. And now she's getting angry. Hester Lacey on the divorce case that's dividing America

Home truths in black and white

Whatever the opposite of a welcome is, the Reith Lecturer Patricia Williams got it. Perhaps because what she says is true. By Yasmin Alibhai- Brown

Bill Clinton's guru is gown but not out

George Stephanopoulos, erstwhile wunderkind of the Clinton kitchen cabinet and briefly touted as election adviser to Tony Blair, is to become a visiting professor at his alma mater, Columbia University, when he leaves the White House at the end of this year.

Letter: Correct view of Columbia's courses

Sir: In his recent article about my colleague Simon Schama ("Coming to terms with magic", 5 April), Bryan Appleyard describes Columbia University as "one of the American institutions most spectacularly crippled" by "political correctness", where "all that is white and European" is held in contempt. This is as inaccurate a description of Columbia as can be imagined. At the core of our undergraduate curriculum is a series of courses, required of all students, that traces the history of Western political thought, literature, music and art. Columbia pioneered these courses in the Twenties and retained them after most American universities dropped such requirements.

So what's the big idea, Mr Etzioni?

Amitai Etzioni, communitarian guru, believes happy families make a moral society. Beatrix Campbell asks if that is enough

How I visited London, and survived

ZOE HELLER IN AMERICA

Out of America: Questioning an age of innocence lost

WASHINGTON - I have a confession - I am addicted to quiz shows. The first volley of questions, and I am glued to the television or the radio.

Washington counts cost of fat America getting fatter

ANYONE who has ever bought a sandwich in a New York deli or anywhere in the United States for that matter, knows Americans are fat because they eat too much.

Snobbery blossoms in borders and the shrubbery: 'Plant war' over gardening taste

VISIT the big spring flower show at Harrogate this week and you will see suburbanites in their hundreds carrying away dahlias, lupins, primulas, begonias, busy Lizzies and clashing bright pansies. They know what they like but they are hopelessly unfashionable. If they followed the lifestyle magazines and the elite gardening professionals they would go for less obtrusive plants, preferably in soft pink, pale blue, lilac and white.

Obituary: Professor Edith Porada

Edith Porada, historian, teacher and writer: born Vienna 22 August 1912; Associate Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, New York 1958-63, Professor 1963-74, Arthur Lehman Professor of Art History and Archaeology 1974-81 (Emeritus); died Honolulu 24 March 1994.

Obituary: Jose Coronel Urtecho

Jose Coronel Urtecho, poet: born Granada, Nicaragua 1906; died Los Chiles, Nicaragua 19 March 1994.

The solitary felid in strange, factual poetry: The African Leopard - Theodore N Bailey: Columbia University, pounds 70

LEOPARDS have got it made. Cheetahs depend for their superlative sprinting speed on light, fragile bones; and are so vulnerable to the depredations (or perhaps just the predations) of hyenas, lions and vultures that only one cub in eight makes it to adulthood. Leopards, on the other hand, are both the most glamorous of the big cats and the most successful. They have a robust 50 per cent survival chance and are extremely adaptable: they like mountains and jungles, rivers and deserts. Usually they get through one tasty impala per week, but when pushed they can go 15 days without a drink.
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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee