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
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable