Arts and Entertainment Win Butler of Arcade Fire. The band are confirmed to headline Primavera 2014

The National, Pixies, and Disclosure also confirmed for Barcelona festival

A Syrian man helps an injured man following an airstrike in Aleppo's Maadi neighborhood. Two children were among at least 13 people killed in new air strikes on a rebel-held district

Hundreds killed as Assad pounds Aleppo from the air

Since it began in mid-December, the government’s aerial bombardment has left more than 200 people dead

British prisoner Dr Abbas Khan found dead in Syrian jail days before he was due to be handed over to MP George Galloway

Family deny Syrian security authorities' claims that he committed suicide and demand an explanation

Book review: Pig's Foot, by Carlos Acosta (trs by Frank Wynne)

There is a character in this novel called Melecio, a precociously multi-talented child from a penniless village who can spontaneously compose poetry and single-handedly invents Art Deco architecture when he is just 16. The narrator turns out to be a similarly gifted individual whose literary ability is recognised from an early age. You may read something into the fact that the author is the Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta, whose extraordinary ballet skill was recognised globally when he was still in his teens. He is now an actor and choreographer whose autobiography, No Way Home, was released to great acclaim in 2007.

Letter from Khaled Mahjoub: Robert Fisk's untrue accusations about me

Below is a letter in response to this article by The Independent's Robert Fisk

Book review: Hanns and Rudolf, By Thomas Harding

A refugee soldier captured the man who ran Auschwitz. This act of homage follows the chase

Missile strikes in Damascus are ignored by the city’s middle classes who 'pretend that the war is not happening'

The death toll in Syria continues to rise - whoever is doing the counting

To the sound of the bombardment of rebel sites, Robert Fisk in Damascus discusses the victim tally with an Assad supporter

Walter faces up to Jack (Michael Bowen) in the final season

Breaking Bad spoiler alert: The 10 most heart-wrenching moments in Ozymandias

Every single chicken came home to roost all at once in last night's episode. Here are the 10 most shocking moments

Katy Perry has scored her fourth UK number one with 'Roar' after selling 179,500 copies in the last seven days.

Katy Perry roars to the top of the UK Singles chart

Katy Perry has roared her way to the top of the UK Singles charts for the fourth time.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault addresses the French National Assembly on Syria

Syria crisis: Deep conflicts surface as French debate military strike

Government accused of hitching itself to an American ‘adventure’ without UN backing

Chinese official ‘drowned by investigators’

Six investigators trying to extract a confession held Yu Qiyi’s head under icy water.

Syria crisis: Obama lines up Congress support for intervention as US Senate votes on draft plan

As President Barack Obama leaves for Europe, the White House keeps up campaign for Congressional support on action

Mr angry Trent Reznor of industrial rock veterans Nine Inch Nails

Simon Price on Nine Inch Nails at Reading Festival: Trent Reznor's not choosy – he hates everyone

The Nine Inch Nails frontman is still furious after all these years. But, at 78, Leonard Cohen knows it's better to be a lover than a fighter

Eminem performs on the main stage, during day two of the Reading Festival

The Playlist: Kurt Vile / Eminem / Nine Inch Nails

The songs that are hot on our playlist this week

Video: Tracks from the Playlist

Watch the videos below to take in tracks from this week's Playlist.

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
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick