Arts and Entertainment Madonna inset with the painting Cubist Fernand Léger auctioned by Sotheby's New York for over $7m

The Queen of Pop will donate the proceeds to her Ray of Light Foundation to promote girls' education in the Middle East and South Asia

Madonna may adopt again from Malawi

Madonna may adopt another child from Malawi despite controversy in 2006 when she began proceedings to adopt her son David Banda.

Around the world in 20 festivals

Whether you want to keep it cool in Iceland or catch the hottest acts in the desert, Elisa Bray hits all the high notes on a whistle-stop world tour

A unique platform

The Government-funded volunteer programme Platform2 sends UK youths to developing countries in South America and Africa - fancy applying for the trip of a lifetime?

Independent Appeal: Malawi strikes organic gold

Peasant farmers are breaking the cycle of poverty by using ancient methods that could court Western supermarkets, says Basildon Peta

Mother's last-ditch plea to Home Office against deportation

Zimbabwean family due to be expelled tomorrow

Independent Appeal: Africa's lost generation

A 74-year-old woman struggles to feed her eight orphaned grandchildren: it is a story sadly typical in a continent ravaged by Aids. Basildon Peta reports from Mzimba in Malawi

Lives Remembered: Beulah Town

Beulah Town, who died on 17 October aged 76, was a trailblazer for 21st-century women. Born at a time when the feminine life pattern was usually job or profession, marriage, then return to work after children, she bucked the trend. For her, the career enabled her to go her own independent way.

Katy Guest: No sex please, we've got better things to do

Clara Meadmore is 105 and she's still a virgin. Good for her

The African wild: No distractions, just splendid isolation

To experience the wilds of Africa, you need to forget the outside world for a while. Adrian Mourby travels to two new retreats in Zambia and Malawi

The Rev Andrew Ross: Missionary and Church historian

Andrew Ross was a distinguished missionary, academic scholar and university leader during an illustrious career that spanned several continents. Born into a coal-mining family in the Lothians of Scotland, he retained the commitment to family life, community, football and social justice that was instilled in him from his earliest days. All these he celebrated with a characteristic passion and infectious enthusiasm.

Madonna at 50

As the world's most successful female artist hits her half-century – and her first £250m – Katy Guest unearths 50 fascinating facts about the material girl who, at 20, left Michigan for New York with $35 in her pocket

The tree of life (and its super fruit)

The medicinal properties of the baobab fruit are the stuff of African legend. Claire Soares says it also tastes great and, thanks to an EU ruling, we will all be able to try some soon

The Jive Talker, by Samson Kambalu

Portrait of the artist as a young African

Parenting: Madonna, Malawi and a tale of two children

One African child dines in a Knightsbridge restaurant and the other often falls asleep hungry. Steve Bloomfield reports

100 years of struggling to win justice for women

Despite a century of change, finds Susie Mesure, we are still striving for true sexual equality across the globe
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World Cup 2014
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Rihanna celebrates Germany's win
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Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
musicYes, that would be Ed Sheeran, according to the BBC
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Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast
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AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
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The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
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Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
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newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
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Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
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Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor