Royal Mail revenue boosted by online shopping frenzy

Higher prices for parcels and loads of Christmas cards delivered helped Royal Mail boost revenues by 2 per cent in the past nine months, the recently privatised business reported today.

Damon Albarn performs on stage at Sundance Film Festival in Utah

L’Issipile, La nuova musica, classical review

Wigmore Hall, London

Damon Albarn of Blur will release his debut solo album on 28 April

Damon Albarn to headline first BBC Radio 6 Music Festival in Manchester

The Blur frontman will unveil his debut solo album at the two-day event

Conductor Claudio Abbado performing with his orchestra during the opening concert of the Lucerne Festival, in Lucerne, Switzerland

Claudio Abbado dies aged 80: An appreciation of the late conductor

No wonder he was widely considered the finest conductor of his day, he was certainly the best-loved of them all, writes Jessica Duchen

Fiona Mountford: Executive directors are the unsung heroes of British theatre

The top 20 of The Stage newspaper’s recently published “power list” of the 100 most influential people in British theatre made for fascinating reading. Most of the usual suspects were there, but many of them found themselves paired with another name for their entry. For it’s not only the artistic directors, the Nick Hytners and Gregory Dorans, who are celebrated but their all-important executive directors, the men and women who oversee every aspect of an organisation except what goes on its stages. Without executive directors, no contracts would be written, no money raised and no ambitious building projects undertaken.

Stampede at Mumbai funeral leaves 18 dead as as thousands mourn Muslim leader's death

Closure of gates causes fatal crush as thousands pay last respects to Muslim spiritual leader

Travel agenda

From a converted railway station in Snowdonia and a new resort to San Diego to Sawdays' sale and Gooey travel accessories

A man rides a horse through a bonfire as part of a ritual in honor of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of animals, in San Bartolome de Pinares, about 100 km west of Madrid
Residents of Hastings in East Sussex bare all in a naked flash mob on the beach, as the Jerwood Gallery in the town competes to win a photographic portrait session with photographer Spencer Tunick

Flash mob: Naked beach stunt aims to catch the eye of acclaimed photographer Spencer Tunick

Up to 30 hardy exhibitionists braved bitingly cold wind and rain to bare all in a naked flash mob on a beach.

Getting the hump: camels do battle in front of tens of thousands of spectators

Do the participants of Turkey's annual Camel Wrestling Festival enjoy it as much as the audience?

On Sunday, more than 20,000 people will gather in Turkey to watch camels do battle in a spectacle that dates back thousands of years. It is, depending on your attachment to the ungainly beasts, a historic cultural institution to be celebrated – or a throwback to an era before animal-rights campaigns when it was OK to starve an animal for three months to make it cross.

A Hindu devotee with needles protruding his cheeks walks towards the 272 steps taking up to the Batu Caves Temple during the Thaipusam Festival in Kuala Lumpur
Coronation Street actor William Roache arrives at Preston Crown Court for the third day of his trial in Preston, Lancashire.

William Roache trial: Coronation Street star 'raped 15-year-old girl in his two homes', trial hears

The Coronation Street actor William Roache was “cold and calculated” when he pushed a 15-year-old girl on to a bed before raping her, jurors were told.

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
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The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
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Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
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Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own