News French actor Gerard Depardieu poses with people from Estaimpuis during a ceremony held in his honor at the Chateau Bourgogne

Mayor of Estaimpuis credits French star with boosting the economy, creating jobs and bringing new visitors to the small corner of Wallonia

ICC lawyer detained in Libya on security concerns

A Libyan lawyer says authorities have detained a member of an International Criminal Court delegation after she allegedly showed sensitive documents to deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi's son and former heir apparent Seif al-Islam, who was captured by revolutionary fighters in November.

'Tortured' Chinese rights activist is jailed

Ni Yulan, a Chinese human rights defender left wheelchair-bound after police mistreatment, was sentenced yesterday to two years and eight months in jail for fraud and "unruly behaviour".

It's official: some countries make it difficult to mark your arrival or departure

Tony Wheeler: Someone stamp my passport – please!

The View From Here: On official welcomes

British police assist Thai murder inquiry

British police are to fly out to Thailand to help local officers finally catch the killer of a student who was murdered 12 years ago.

Gay ban guesthouse owners lose court appeal

Two Christian guesthouse owners who were ordered to pay damages after refusing to allow a gay couple to stay in a double room lost their appeal today.

Ni Yulan is the third dissident to stand trial in China this week

China cracks down – on a dissident in her sickbed

Campaigning lawyer says decade of torture has left her crippled – but state refuses to delay trial

Win a charming escape for two somewhere in the UK

Now we're finally looking at some sort of Indian summer here in Britain, it might just be time for you to take that break you've been promising yourself. You know the one: a genteel one-night stay in an idyllic little bed-and-breakfast somewhere in the UK.

Terence Blacker: Keeping the magic alive after 'I do'

My good friends Laura and Raj were married yesterday; today, they have very sensibly started their married life together with a seminar. The subject under discussion was prompted by the title of a book Laura once saw in a guesthouse in Scotland: How To Be Happy Though Married. Here surely is one of life's tougher challenges. How I wish I could take part in this think-tank to bring my own experience – married, divorced, now living with a woman who runs shrieking from the room at the mention of marriage – to this important subject.

Stay The Night: Treehotel, Swedish Lapland

Sweden is home to a fantastical hotel experiment that will wow architecture fans but not comfort seekers, says Sarah Barrell

Stay the night: The Atlantis, Barbados

Far from the glitz of Sandy Lane, Emily Dugan enjoys superb Bajan food and hospitality at this refurbished boutique hotel

James Lawton: It is time for the game to stop tolerating acts of gratuitous violence

The fierce protests when Schalk Burger was banned for gouging were evidence of rugby's refusal to look at itself with anything like detached rigour

Joan Smith: Let's talk about sex – to children

Some people have sex on the brain. I'm not offering this as a profound insight into human nature – I don't do those on Thursdays – but it's such an obvious statement of fact that I'm always surprised when someone fails to appreciate it.

'Husband held' over wife's disappearance

Police were searching for the body of a wealthy guesthouse owner yesterday, acting on suspicion the woman had been murdered after a divorce battle over a pre-nuptial agreement.

Police hunt for body of 'murdered' guesthouse owner

Detectives were hunting today for the body of a wealthy guesthouse owner believed to have been murdered following a bitter divorce battle involving a pre-nuptial agreement.

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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
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas