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".
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'