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After that Nazi gaffe at Cannes, Lars von Trier's status as everyone's favourite art-house film director was in doubt. But then, he never set out to be liked...

Music: Beating around the bush

New Music: RHYTHM STICKS; SOUTH BANK CENTRE, LONDON

Classical: The Danish invasion

Carl Nielsen is Denmark's most famous composer, but he's just one of many being featured at this year's Proms.

Royal & SunAlliance buys Swedish insurer for pounds 316m

ROYAL & SUNALLIANCE, the composite insurer yesterday pulled off a 3.6bn Danish kronor (pounds 316m) deal to take over Trygg-Hansa, one of Sweden's biggest non-life insurance companies from its current owner Skandinavska Enskilda Banken (SEB).

Words: slapping, adj.

"TODAY I had a slapping walk." One might think this a Bright Young Thing's remark, not that of the cerebral poet Wallace Stevens when writing to his wife in 1912. The OED omits its survival in America this century, but notes the two 19th-century usages: large and fast. In each case, this refers to both men and horses, as does spanking, which goes back to the 17th century, possibly from spanke, Danish for strut.

Schools

King's College School, Wimbledon

The Canary

Saving your bacon: Denmark is joining the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands as a tax haven. The Danish government has abolished tax on profits made by companies abroad and 200 foreign firms have set up holding companies in Denmark to take advantage. Observers fear this generous tax environment could encourage less than credible companies to Denmark. "If there are no checks on profits, it is a perfect arena for money-laundering," says one analyst. Scandinavian firms, including many from Sweden who are taxed almost out of existence, are moving to Copenhagen.

SPORTING DIGEST: BADMINTON

SPORTING DIGEST: BADMINTON

FKI to buy Crisplant for pounds 186.5m

FKI to buy Crisplant for pounds 186.5m

Cinema: It's a laughing shame

The Idiots

Girl `shot and strangled' by gun fanatic

A GIRL aged 13 was beaten, shot and strangled as she was walking to school by a lone attacker who dumped her in a river, a court was told yesterday.

CRICKET: Something rotten in the state of Denmark

Kent Board XI 227-8 Denmark 169 Kent Board XI win by 58 runs

Ice Hockey: Britain have to settle for silver

ICE HOCKEY

Ice Hockey: Adey keeps Britain on track

GREAT BRITAIN completed the first step towards rejoining the world's elite following a 4-2 victory over Hungary in Pool B of the World Championships in Rodovre, Denmark, yesterday.

Badminton: Christensen's title

WORLD NO one Peter Gade Christensen won his first All England title yesterday with a hard-fought 15-11, 7-15, 15-10 victory over the Indonesian teenager Taufik Hidayat.

Badminton: Flights of fancy smashed down

Peter Gade Christensen of Denmark (foreground) takes control against Indonesia's Johan Hadikusuma during his straight-sets 17-15 15-8 quarter- final victory at the
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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