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

Travel: Silken threads in the city of the dead

In the latticework of alleys behind Varanasi's burning ghats, Rhiannon Batten meets a tailor who became a superstar

India seeks to rein in rogue state

THE 90 MILLION people of Bihar were in effect without a government yesterday, as India's President, K R Naray-anan, considered whether to accede to the central govern-ment's recommendation to impose "President's Rule" on the impoverished north Indian state.

NORTHERN LIGHTS IN TIGHTS

Nobody at the Pule Side Working Men's Club particularly thought about performing their all-male panto anywhere other than the village hall. Not, that is, until they got the offer to go on tour to Bridlington

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold: Now if Miss Leigh had opted for a sensible bath...

FROM time to time, every columnist worth his salt likes to deliver himself of what one might term a "cultural overview" (dread phrase!), inspired by the release of a book, television programme or film (never movie if you please!). A slice of autobiography here, a dash of reappraisal there and - bob's your uncle! - another award-winning column has been chalked up!

Books: The Last Resort by Alison Lurie Chatto & Windus, pounds 15.99; Queer fish and straight men

Michael Arditti basks in the Florida sunshine of a charming satire on human-hating Greens

Property: Give it all up to run a guest house

Jeremy Davies describes how he quit London for a new life in the Lakes

Creme caramel amidst the rickshaws

There is a corner of India which will be forever France. Jeremy Atiyah joined the hippies and sadhus in Pondicherry

Travel: Head for Angkor Wat, and watch out for the bullets

Shaun MacLoughlin fancied adventure so he went to Cambodia, the country that has emerged from the killing fields

Blackpool: a user's guide

The Labour Party conference brings pounds 5m to the town. Each year Blackpool hosts 400 other conferences which bring in a further pounds 50m.

Maharajah plays the feudal card to stay in power

"WE WILL re-elect Madhavrao Scindia because he has done so much for the development of our city". This view, repeated by everybody one meets in Gwalior like a mantra, strikes the newcomer as a sick joke.

Rocks of ages

In the north are savage peaks, to the south gently rolling lowlands. The Isle of Arran is Scotland in miniature - and British gem, writes Graham Hoyland.

Travel: Your holiday disaster

The day Graham and Mollie Turner learned to mend bridges - and that was after the cockroach in the coffee

Review: On The Fringe: A River Sutra Three Mills Island Studios: A river runs through it (slowly)

The first thing to say about A River Sutra (a co-production between the National Theatre Studio and the newly formed Indosa company) is that it looks wonderful. Imagine a rocky landscape that, under certain types of light, resembles a large Swiss roll coated in chocolate and, in others, looks like a Science Museum reconstruction of the recent Mars landings. Then add an ivory temple and hill-station guesthouse. Rosa Maggiora's splendidly exotic set fills one long wall of the great warehouse at Three Mills Island. Liberally sprinkled, paprika-coloured sand insinuates itself into the shoes of the audience, crouched on the floor on cushions. And the effect of heat and dust is completed by the mirage-like lights that shimmer on the back wall, economically suggestive of the river, out of sight but seldom out of mind.

Blind women's trek ends in tears of joy

The first blind women to walk the length of Britain ended their marathon charity trek yesterday after 892 miles on the road.

Bad feng-shui deters Tung

Feng-shui, the traditional Chinese belief in reconciling man with his environment, appears to have won the day. Yesterday, Tung Chee-hwa, Hong Kong's first Chief Executive, announced that he would not be taking up residence in Government House, a place he has described as having "bad feng-shui".
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Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines
Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?

What are Jaden and Willow on about?

Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?
Fridge gate: How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces

Cold war

How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces
Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

From dogs in cars to online etiquette, while away a few minutes in peace with one of these humorous, original and occasionally educational tomes
Malky Mackay appointed Wigan manager: Three texts keep Scot’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

Three texts keep Mackay’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

New Wigan manager said all the right things - but until the FA’s verdict is delivered he is still on probation, says Ian Herbert
Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

‘O, Louis’ is the plaintive title of a biography about the Dutchman. Ian Herbert looks at what it tells us about the Manchester United manager
Isis in Iraq: Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants

Isis takes a big step back

Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants
Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?

Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?

Ukip silk bow ties, Green Party T-shirts, and 'Iron Baby' romper suits: How to shop politically

How to shop politically

Ukip silk bow ties, Green Party T-shirts, and 'Iron Baby' romper suits
The science of sex: What happens when science meets erotica

Sex on the brain

Fetishes, dominatrixes, kinks and erotica. They are subjects that should get the crowds flocking to a new exhibition at the Wellcome Collection