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London Metropolitan University

Who made me what I am?

Is it genes or upbringing that shapes our characters, talents and traits? As an adopted child, the question has always fascinated Kate Hilpern

East coast of US rocked by 5.8-magnitude earthquake

The capital of the free world has experienced many a man-made shock in recent years: a major terrorist attack, serial sniper murders, an anthrax scare, not to mention a brush with national debt default. Yesterday, though, Washington DC received a rare and jarring shock at the hand of Mother Nature: a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that rattled structures, emptied the Capitol and other office buildings, and crashed mobile phone networks.

Pebble Beach, Marine Drive, Barton-on-Sea, Hampshire

"Pebble Beach, far away in time," you find yourself adapting Martha and the Muffins as you park the car on the clifftop drive. "Pebble Beach, far away in time, Pebble Beach..." And as you push the door, you feel you've stepped back 20 years in time, to a kinder, simpler age when all restaurant menus came in floppy leather (with photos of the shellfish platter), all dining-rooms were on a split level, with fleshy-orangey chairs, tables and curtains, and a wrought-iron fence as a "feature".

I was targeted too, Gordon Brown to say

Gordon Brown will today break his silence over the News International scandal by accusing Rupert Murdoch's organisation of targeting his personal information, The Independent has learnt.

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The Manga girls of Middlesbrough

The fine, machine-tooled metropolis that is Middlesbrough is possibly not the first place that springs to mind when one thinks about the savage hues and – at least to some Western eyes – avant-garde childishness of Japanese pop culture. But this weekend, the Teesside city found itself decked out in a million buttons and bows, as British cosplay enthusiasts were handed free licence to parade their fondness for dressing up like anime characters.

Last Weekend: Bridgwater boy who helped Britannia rule

Rio and New Orleans may not quite quake in their fancy boots at the assertion by this Somerset market town that it is the "Home of Carnival". Nevertheless, I arrived last weekend for the first time to Bridgwater's tidy little station to find a touch of the exotic: not the model-railway shop on Platform 2, but the Pythonesque portraits on the opposite side of the tracks, part of a project called "Trains of Thought".

48 Hours In: Tallinn

As a European Capital of Culture, the Estonian city's programme of artistic events hit its peak during the summer.