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In a theatre in the central Javanese city of Solo, a troupe of performers are acting out a fight scene from Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. The god Gatutkaca is dispatching some long-haired bad guys to the delight of the audience.

Suharto: Former dictator of Indonesia who presided over three decades of growth – and a corrupt and brutal regime

Haji Mohamed Suharto, politician: born Kemusu, Java 8 June 1921; Acting President of Indonesia 1967-68, President 1968-98; Honorary GCB 1974; married 1947 Siti Hartinah (died 1996; three sons, three daughters); died Jakarta 27 January 2008.

Former Indonesian dictator Suharto again in 'very critical condition'

Family members said they would let doctors decide if former dictator Suharto should be removed from life support after almost all of his organ functions failed. Physicians described his condition as "very critical."

Hamish McRae: What makes a capital?

Most cities, though not all, are much older than the countries in which they are located. There has been a continuity of human endeavour in London, Rome and New York that pre-dates the existence of the United Kingdom and England, Italy and the United States. That will doubtless continue. Most great cities have become great cities not because they have been created as administrative centres (pace Brasilia, Washington DC and Canberra) but rather because they have long served fundamental human economic needs.

Sarah Sands: All you need is... a damn good lawyer

Yes, Paul McCartney and Heather Mills have a daughter to fight over. But when the super-rich divorce, there is one thing they want custody of more than any other: the money

How Shiloh Nouvel learnt art of celebrity endorsement from birth

As celebrity endorsements go, it comes no bigger than this. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, perhaps the most gilded of Hollywood's golden couples, stare down adoringly at their oh-so cute new arrival, Shiloh Nouvel, for Hello! magazine

Blisters from new football boots caused potentially fatal toxic shock

Young footballers dreaming of World Cup glory face an unexpected hazard on their journey to the top: the toxic boot.

Ailing US deserter risks arrest with trip to Japanese hospital

After nearly 40 years in North Korea, Charles Jenkins arrived yesterday in Japan, an enemy of Pyongyang during the Cold War, where he risks arrest and imprisonment for deserting the US army.

Spectre of militarism as Suharto generals join the battle for Indonesian presidency

It is midnight at an open-air restaurant in Jakarta, and Wiranto, Indonesia's former military commander, is addressing a rapt crowd on the myriad problems facing the nation. Suddenly he changes tack. "Let's sing together," says the would-be president. Cradling a microphone, he leads his adoring fans in a rendition of a 1970s hit, "Goodbye My Love".

Bali, Java in my Dreams, by Christine Jordis, trans. George Bland

A Parisian publisher lost her heart in Indonesia. Shusha Guppy can understand why
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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...