Voices

To buy a ticket for a hotly tipped play, within seconds of booking opening, requires perseverance and nerve as websites falter, payments vanish and a confirmation finally limps through. The goal is to see a top cast, whose fluency and fluidity is testament to years of determination – getting to drama school, being noticed at the end-of-year shows, getting an audition, getting a part and nailing it.  

Christians march in the streets in 2012, calling for reforms of the country's blasphemy laws. Muhammad Asghar, a British pensioner who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy, has been denied legal independent legal advice

Mohammed Asghar blasphemy case: This flagrant breach of rights must be undone

Last Thursday, Mohammed Asghar, a 69-year-old shopkeeper from Edinburgh who has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, was sentenced to death. The sentence came after two marathon hearings and a three-year trial process.

Bollywood glamour and roaring economic progress have blinded us to India’s misogynist reality

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

A tale from Ireland that will stir the blood – even make it boil

The  story of a primary-school teacher, Margaret Skinnider, who was shot and wounded during the Easter 1916 uprising, has rightly caught the eye of Dublin journalists

People help a family out of a burning car after it drove over a barricade of fire started by protesters, during demonstrations against the staging of the upcoming 2014 World Cup

Over 100 arrested in Brazil as anti-World Cup protesters clash with police

Sao Paulo demonstration billed as the year’s first action against the summer tournament ended in tear gas and rubber bullets after cars were torched and bank windows smashed

Behind bars: Reformed prisoners could be held in jail longer than is necessary

Exclusive: Parole system failing prisoners and close to be overwhelmed, lawyers warn

Inmates due to be freed should have face-to-face hearings – but there are not enough officers to go round

Doctors worry e-cigarettes will give youngsters a taste for nicotine

Sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s to be illegal

The sale of electronic cigarettes to under-18s is to be banned after the chief medical officer warned they could be “extremely damaging to young people’s health”.

Lush often uses its front windows to campaign against social injustice

Cosmetics chain Lush stands up for gay rights in run up to Sochi Winter Olympics

As the Sochi games approach, Lush stores around the world will be running a Valentine’s campaign in defence of equal love

Amber McGuire, left, recounts the execution of her father, Dennis McGuire, as her sister-in-law Missie McGuire cries at a news conference Friday in Dayton, Ohio

Family of executed Ohio inmate Dennis McGuire file lawsuit to ban use of new lethal injection

McGuire was the first prisoner to be executed with a new cocktail of lethal drugs and took 26 minutes to die

Nicolas Anelka in action for West Brom during the 1-1 draw with Everton

Nicolas Anelka: Disciplinary hearing over alleged anti-Semitic 'quenelle' gesture scheduled for the end of February

Anelka has been charged by the FA with an aggravated offence although the personal hearing is not due to take place until the end of next month

Erick Munoz stands with an undated copy of a photograph of himself, left, with wife Marlisa and their son Mateo

Marlisa Munoz: Texas judge orders hospital to remove life support of pregnant brain-dead woman

33-year-old was 14 weeks pregnant when she fell unconscious in November

Eshoppers and refund seekers set for a boost

Shoppers will get stronger refund rights and e-shoppers new rights under a Consumer Rights Bill published this week.

Needham: she went on to fight charges for home helps, and day-centre closures

Ivy Needham: Campaigner who was awarded an MBE for her efforts to claw back millions of pounds for the Maxwell pensioners

Ivy Needham was in her late sixties and coming to terms with the loss of both her sight and hearing when she was thrust into the forefront of the campaign to get back the pension funds stolen by Robert Maxwell from his staff and from pensioners who had worked for his companies.

An email exchange in April 2011 between Rebekah Brooks and her husband, Charles Brooks, referred to her losing an iPad

Mystery of Rebekah Brooks’s 10 missing devices: gadgets that connected to router have never been found, hacking trial told

One phone on the list may have been a duplicate, another may have belonged to someone else and one iPad may have been lost

Max Mosley's lawyers have previously said his case is 'not about censoring the internet' fight Rupert Murdoch

German court orders Google to block Max Mosley sex party images

Judge says the widely-circulated pictures of a sadomasochistic orgy ‘seriously violate’ former Formula One chief’s privacy

Protesters clad in improvised protective gear prepare for a clash with police in central Kiev

Ukraine protests: what exactly is going on in Kiev?

Why people are angry and what happens next

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness