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

BOOK REVIEW / Sun gonna shine some day: Godfrey Hodgson on the inspiring journeys of Alan Lomax, who revealed the magic of the blues for the world: The land where the Blues began - Alan Lomax: Methuen, pounds 20

IN 1933, when he was 17 years old, Alan Lomax went with his father to record songs sung by prisoners at the Central State prison farm in his native Texas. Their equipment was primitive: the recorder weighed 500lbs, and the aluminium discs lasted for only four minutes each. Still, the songs they recorded there - The Midnight Special, Little John Henry, and Me and My Buddy Pick a Bale of Cotton among them - had momentous consequences for young Alan Lomax, for black people in the Deep South and indeed for the world.

Lessons of History: Politics of pressure that took root in May 1968: David Caute reassesses the impact of the youthful insurrections 25 years ago

'PAPA, what did you do in 1968?' So runs the caption of a celebrated French cartoon.

Royalty in Crisis: We abolished it once. Should we do it again?: 'We need a monarchy that is less secretive and more accountable'

IN THE light of the unprecedented intrusiveness to which the Royal Family has been subjected in recent months, it may seem unsympathetically paradoxical to argue that we need more information about the monarchy, rather than less. But it all depends on the kind of information we get. We have prurient tittle-tattle in wearying and seemingly inexhaustible excess. Yet we know next to nothing about how the monarchy actually operates, and it is difficult to see how there can be a well-informed debate - a debate to which the Queen herself gave some encouragement in her 'annus horribilis' speech - until we know much more than we do at present.
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The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
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Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
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Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
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Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
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Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
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Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
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Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
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Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
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Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
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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
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?