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Many of us will have booked our holidays by now and bought the sun-cream too. But what to read under the palm tree or on the beach or the staycation sofa?

Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Last Stand

Ukraine protests: Arnold Schwarzenegger shows his support for demonstrators in YouTube message posted by Klitschko

The Austrian actor recorded a video message for demonstrators in the country which was posted via the opposition leader's YouTube account

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 case: Hopes rise that mentally ill British pensioner may escape death sentence in Pakistan

Hopes are rising that a blasphemy death sentence imposed on a mentally ill British pensioner could be overturned on appeal, after the Pakistan High Commission said the case was being “thoroughly investigated so an innocent person does not become victim of misplaced judicial process”.

Actor Jude Law arrives for the phone-hacking trial to give evidence at Old Bailey on 27 January, 2014 in London, England.

Phone-hacking trial: Jude Law 'didn't know family member sold his stories to NOTW'

The actor told the court that the press had an "unhealthy amount of information" about his life

Australia: First shark killed as controversial culling policy begins

The three-metre animal, believed to be a female tiger shark, was caught on bait lines and shot in the head four times at close range

Godfrey Bloom

Ukip's Godfrey Bloom mocks disability at Oxford Union, asks student David Browne: 'Are you Richard III?'

A video of the MEP and Ukip member Godfrey Bloom interrupting a disabled student’s speech at Oxford Union to jeeringly ask if he was Richard III has been released.

Saltwater crocodiles can weigh up to a ton

Search continues for Australian boy snatched by crocodiles

Australian police have shot dead two crocodiles after a 12-year-old boy's disappearance

Trespass laws are being examined to allow fracking under people's homes without prior consent

Law could be changed to allow fracking below houses without owners’ permission

Ministers are reportedly reviewing laws that would allow fracking to be carried out underneath houses without the permission of the owners.

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

With no current restrictions, electronic cigarettes have become hugely popular with teenagers in the UK

E-cigarette to be banned for under-18s in England

New rules will also make it illegal for adults to buy tobacco for under-18s with fines handed out to anyone caught

Anti-government protesters gather around a fire to get warm at a road block in Kiev on Sunday night

Ukraine protests: Police forced to abandon Kiev conference centre to opposition as protests spread further across the country

Protesters claim the newly-occupied Ukrainian House complex had a police sniper post with 'spent cartridges' on the roof

David Cameron’s Government is spending a third less time on legislation

‘Zombie coalition has run out of things to say’ say critics

There are rumours that the Queen’s Speech has been delayed because of a lack of interesting policies to put forward in a legislative programme.

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

RAF Croughton is a relay base for listening stations

Exclusive: Peers call for proper scrutiny of American military bases in UK used for drone strikes and mass spying

Britain's oversight of US bases ‘in urgent need of revision’

Anthony Hilton: Back-tracking over Unemployment rate makes a mockery of forward guidance

The recession of 2008 was the first internet recession.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
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