Arts and Entertainment

From 18th-century caricaturists to Desperate Dan, the art of talking in picture-form has a long and (mostly) distinguished history

Laughing all the way to the riverbank

Anonymous bidder pays seven-figure sum for toll bridge – but investment could pay for itself within six years

The 5p toll bridge is sold for £1.08m

A toll bridge over the River Thames was sold for £1,080,000 at auction today.

Manituana, By Wu Ming (translated by Shaun Whiteside)

As a literary project, it looks at first glance like a giggly stunt positioned in some mischief-making space midway between Monty Python and the Sex Pistols. In 2000, a quartet of cultural pranksters and gadflies from Bologna published Q, a historical novel of adventure and ideas set in the 16th century. They chose as their first sobriquet "Luther Blissett": improbably enough, the name of a Watford striker subject to racial abuse after a transfer to Italy to play at AC Milan. Following a quizzical reaction from the real-life Blissett, the group recruited a couple more anonymous writers, picked for their next incarnation "Wu Ming" "no name" in Mandarin and continued to develop a unique brand of intelligent period fiction, with 54 also translated into English.

The truth is out there: 31/10/2009

A weekly look at the world

The Age of Wonder, By Richard Holmes

Holmes's epic biographies of Shelley and Coleridge are dazzling journeys of intellectual exploration. Fans describe them with a delighted awe that very few other biographies manage to generate. Holmes has now done the same for the scientists of the Romantic era.

Wild in Wales: Three men brave the rain in Snowdonia to discover majestic scenery – and some fine food

A Frenchman, an American and an Englishman went for a walk in Wales. The Frenchman was worried about the food. "What do they eat in Wales?" Hervé asked repeatedly. "Are you sure you can eat well in Wales?"

Sarah Sands: Insult America, Russell, but please make sure it's funny

The Americans are the least cynical people on earth, someone remarked to me recently. And so we send over Russell Brand, a comically depraved figure, an MTV Byron, who lewdly insults a virgin boy band and takes on the most powerful figure in the world, the US President.

Leading article: Riding for a fall

Few British MPs have ever been expelled from Parliament and sent to prison. Among the handful were a couple of Jacobites and John Wilkes, the radical hero who fled to America to avoid trial for libel in the reign of George III. Will the Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik be the next to join them?

1789: The threshold of the modern age, By David Andress

A year is a long time in the global movement towards liberal internationalism

Collection paints George III as a monarch mad about art

There are just two things that most people think they know about George III: he went mad and he lost America.

The Information on `Battle Royal'

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Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
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The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
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Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
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Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
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Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
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An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
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Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
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Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own