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India is the fourth most dangerous place in the world for females, after only Afghanistan, Congo and Pakistan

The Big Picture: Divine presents

Hindu pilgrims carrying holy water from the River Ganges make their hurried way to a sacred temple near Allahabad in India's north west. There the pilgrims, wearing saffron dyed clothes and known as Kanwarias, will offer the water to Shiva, the Hindu deity.

Pic of the day: Glorious mud?

Amongst a throng of bodies daubed with sacred mud, a young Hindu boy raises his hands in quiet prayer. He is smothered in grey gloop – all that remains of a dried-up pond, which is believed to have healing powers.

Sri Lanka looks for help from above to revive its post-war tourist trade

Authorities expect sites featured in ancient religious saga to draw holidaymakers

Nitin Mehta: Come to Kumbh Mela to see the miracle that is modern India

During the last two months the world's greatest religious gathering has been taking place at Allahabad also known as Prayag in the state of Utter Pradesh in India. Kumbha is a Sanskrit word for a round pot with no handles, Mela means "a gathering", or a fair.

India's 'modern-day Nero' to be grilled over Muslim bloodbath

Narendra Modi, tipped as a future prime minister, is called to appear before tribunal investigating 2002 Gujarat massacre

The exiles dreaming of a return to Kashmir

The 400,000 Hindus driven out by Muslim extremists 20 years ago hope talks beginning this week will bring them a step closer to going home. But does it suit the Indian government to prolong their misery?

Hindu healer wins funeral pyre battle

It took four years of complex legal wrangling, nearly bankrupted an ailing Hindu guru and has cost the tax-payer tens of thousands of pounds. But in the end open air cremations were legal all along.

Court ponders Hindu man's funeral pyre plea

A Hindu fighting for the right to be cremated on a traditional funeral pyre took his case to the Court of Appeal today.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: My Bollywood love affair

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has always been obsessed by Indian movies. They have punctuated her life, marking marriages, divorce, births and deaths. In this passionate memoir, she explains how her dreams were made in Mumbai – but why she now despairs for the industry she loves

Man offers his tongue to gods

A childless Indian man sliced off his tongue as an offering to the god Shiva in the hope of becoming a father.

Ganges braced for 60 million bathing pilgrims

As millions of Hindus prepare to descend on the holy city of Haridwar, the authorities have urged people to avoid dirtying the Ganges – India's most sacred river yet one of its most heavily polluted.

Independent Appeal: Safe haven for women beaten and abused in Kashmir

For the past two decades, domestic violence has been a low priority in one of India's most troubled regions. But a bold initiative is now addressing the issue – bringing Hindus and Muslims together, reports Andy Buncombe

Lenore Kandel: Beat poet whose 'The Love Book' fell victim to one of San Francisco's longest ever court cases

Much like Leonora Carrington was to the Surrealist movement, the visionary poet and counter-culture activist Lenore Kandel was a peer and a participant, not a moll, muse or girlfriend. She helped to set the bar higher, bridged the Beat and hippie eras, was a presence in Kerouac's Big Sur and had a cameo in Kenneth Anger's film Invocation of My Demon Brother. Yet in spite of Kandel's influence and cause célèbre status, her poetry was lost for decades.

Report flays top Indian politicians for clashes

An Indian government investigation released yesterday reportedly implicates dozens of Hindu nationalist politicians – including a former prime minister – in the 1992 demolition of a mosque which sparked deadly communal riots.

BNP signs its first non-white member...

... but he's only joined because he hates Muslims
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The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
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News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
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Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
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Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
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Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
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Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
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How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?