The new Library of Birmingham ticks all the boxes as far as so-called landmark architecture is concerned. Designed by Mecanoo, a star international practice. Slightly wild façade. Even more dramatic central atrium, spiralling up through the building. And at the  pinnacle, a golden ark containing the city’s original 1882 Shakespeare archive room.

Autistic boy top of the class

A student born with a rare form of autism which rules out everyday tasks such as making a cup of tea, has beaten thousands of other teenagers to score among the country's top A-level results.

Red flag droops in Paris as old guard marches out

The old guard of France's decidedly old-style Communist Party finally bowed out yesterday, on the last day of a party congress, after five days of line-by-line resistance to a programme of change.

Is moral leadership enough for those who have been left with nothing?

"The first need of any society is order. If order is to be produced in men and women, what kind of preparation for it is that which leaves the children as wild as young ostriches in the desert? When for the first 10 or 12 years of life there has been no discipline either in life or body ... is it to be expected that they will quietly and industriously settle down in mills, workshops, warehouses or at any trade, or in the orderly routine of any family ...?"


"Britain has a proud tradition of providing refuge for those fleeing persecution," wrote the Home Secretary, Michael Howard, in the Daily Mail last November. Indeed, he has a personal debt to that tradition: his own father fled to Britain from persecution in Romania in the Thirties.

Arts: A man of books

Julian Barnes may not be a completist collector. But he does like to dabble. By Andrew Lycett

Museum wins pounds 30m lottery grant for new roof


LETTER:Karl Marx in, al-Masari out

From Mr Paul Dresch

first encounters: When Lenin met Trotsky

Illustration by Edward Sorel Text by Nancy Caldwell Sorel Next week: F Scott Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton

Red flags fly as Bolsheviks' heirs honour revolution

Russian Communists celebrate 1917 rising with pre-election show of force

Can this really be London?

Jaded urbanites can see their city through new eyes

Shots fired at first SA rally

London (agencies) - At least two people were killed and five injured yesterday when gunshots and political friction marred the first official Workers' Day celebration in a post-apartheid South Africa.

In defence of our noble and diligent Upper House

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold

The last word on money

Whether it is painted as the root of all evil or the means to a happy life, money always stirs strong sentiment. Kevin Jackson has spent time collecting a mint of ideas from some great and not so great thinkers

A quick pint, then it's back to the grotto

It's a dog's life, being Santa. Richard McClure meets some seasonal suf ferers `Most children just snatch the present from Santa's hand' `Child molesters are queuing up for the job'
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform