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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links