News Cuban leader Fidel Castro, right, talks with Spanish journalist, writer and former editor-in-chief of Le Monde diplomatique, Ignacio Ramonet in Havana, Cuba

Fidel Castro was “healthy and alert” during a two-hour discussion about current affairs last week, a Spanish journalist told the Associated Press on Monday.

The Sickness, By Alberto Barrera Tyszka

Shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, this lapidary novel comes from a Venezuelan writer-journalist who has also co-authored a sceptical life of Hugo Chávez.

Matthew Norman: When celebrities swap jobs, career suicide ensues

If there are many difficult lessons to be learned from recent events here's one that even the most obtuse can quickly master: stick to what you know. Much attention has been focused on David Starkey's Newsnight self-immolation, and rightly so. If you go sampling the words of Enoch Powell, as The Beatles so nearly had it, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow.

Miracle maestro: Gustavo Dudamel brings music from Venezuela's slums to the Proms

Cometh the hour, cometh "The Dude". A few years ago, it felt as if classical music's energy was flagging. It needed a superhero: a young, hip, charismatic figurehead who could take centre stage and inspire a new generation to embrace an art that should be accessible to all but is not always perceived that way. Then, out of the impoverished urban sprawls of Venezuela, emerging from a legendary music education scheme known as El Sistema, along bounced Gustavo Dudamel.

Hugo Chavez to undergo further chemotherapy

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has said he will start another round of cancer chemotherapy soon and expects to become bald within days.

Chavez home after cancer treatment

President Hugo Chavez returned to Venezuela on Saturday a week after leaving for chemotherapy in Cuba, saying no malignant cells were found and that he was arriving home in better health than when he left. News that he underwent surgery in Havana last month to remove a cancerous tumour has called into question his fitness to run for re-election next year, but he insisted at the capital's airport that all was well.

Chavez returns to Cuba to begin chemotherapy

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has returned to Cuba to begin chemotherapy nearly a month after surgery to remove a tumor, and he is expressing optimism the treatment will help him survive his cancer.

Chavez announces plan to return to Cuba for chemotherapy

President Hugo Chavez's fight against cancer has taken another surprising turn, with Venezuela's leftist leader announcing plans to fly back to Cuba today to begin chemotherapy.

Venezuela shock Ecuador at Copa America

Venezuela stunned Ecuador 1-0 to go top of Group B at the Copa America last night with only their third win in the competition since they first took part in 1967.

Chavez vows on TV he will survive as leader

Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez held a televised cabinet meeting in an attempt to show that cancer surgery had not loosened his grip on the nation.

Show of strength as Chavez returns from Cuban cancer treatment

President Hugo Chavez received a hero's welcome as he rallied thousands of supporters upon his return to Venezuela, vowing to beat cancer after undergoing surgery in Cuba.

A meeting with Castro – then home for Chavez

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made a surprise return from Cuba yesterday, stepping off a plane before dawn amid speculation about his fitness to continue in office after surgery to remove a cancerous tumour.

Hugo Chavez returns to Venezuela

President Hugo Chavez returned to Venezuela from Cuba today, declaring that he felt "fine" as he recovered from surgery that removed a cancerous tumour.

Chávez retains grip on power after surgery

Venezuela's President has been in Cuba for cancer treatment, but the opposition seems powerless to mount a serious challenge

Venezuelans told to stay calm after Chavez's cancer treatment

Venezuela was on the brink of political chaos last night after President Hugo Chavez admitted in a televised address that he has cancer.

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Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

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Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

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JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksChristmas comes early for wizard fans
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Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
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Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
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Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

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On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
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Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
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