Arts and Entertainment

There is a certain pleasure (however smug) in being ahead of the curve when spotting a particularly gifted writer, and a certain regret when the masses catch up with your discovery. The latter, of course, is the state desired by author and publisher, and Peter May has now made the transition from connoisseurs’ taste to popular bestseller.

12 million facing starvation in Africa, say charities

A trio of the UK's biggest charities launched a fresh appeal over the worsening situation in the horn of Africa yesterday, with Oxfam describing the food shortages as the worst so far this century.

Rise in climate change disasters

Climate change is increasing the number of disasters which hit children in poor countries, campaigners have warned.

Social workers 'failing to listen to children'

Children in life-threatening situations are being let down by social services staff who fail to listen to their concerns, a report warns.

A Day That Shook The World: Ethiopian famine reported on the BBC

On 23 October 1984, the BBC turned the world's attention to the terrible famines in Ethiopia.

Postage stamps paper over a crumbling nation

The image of a smiling farmer surrounded by a harvest of plenty in North Korea hides the reality – many people in the country face starvation after a harsh winter.

The Taste of War: World War Two and the Battle for Food, By Lizzie Collingham

Food is the first thing, morals follow on," wrote Brecht, as well he might in the Germany of his day. In this powerful and important book, Lizzie Collingham shows that the Second World War was about food. Like all the best ideas, Collingham's means that a lot of events fall satisfyingly into place. Events in the First World War caused the Second: both Britain and Germany endured food shortages, but in Germany they were crushing, and the continuing blockade in 1918-19 ensured a revolution from the left. The young Adolf Hitler never forgot, and he set out to prevent a recurrence. His plan for lebensraum was his attempt to give Germany its own version of the American breadbasket. If there was more farmland, Germany would be immune to blockade, and able to challenge Anglophone power.

Hospital food needs urgent treatment

Shopping locally would improve food on the wards, say campaigners for the sick and undernourished

UK agency had warning of flooding in Pakistan

The impact of devastating floods that tore through Pakistan last summer affecting more than 20m people and leaving more than 1,500 dead, could have been greatly reduced if information gathered by weather monitors in Europe about imminent rains had been shared with the authorities in Islamabad.

Hundreds have died of dehydration in care homes

Neglect levels in Britain's care homes were described as "scandalous" today after it emerged that more than 650 elderly residents have died of dehydration in the past five years.

$52bn of American aid and still Afghans are dying of starvation

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kabul on the rampant corruption that has left the country on its knees

Unhappy Cole says West Ham need to 'get ugly' to halt slump

Carlton Cole has called on West Ham United to get "ugly" to drag themselves off the bottom of the Premier League. The Hammers have collected only one win from 14 matches and are in a real battle to maintain their top-flight status.

Tackling life-threatening child malnutrition in Chad

Chad in West Africa has suffered prolonged droughts, poor harvest and, most recently, devastating floods, exacerbating a chronic food crisis.

Mao's Great Leap Forward 'killed 45 million in four years'

Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China, qualifies as the greatest mass murderer in world history, an expert who had unprecedented access to official Communist Party archives said yesterday.

Album: Gallicantus, Dialogues Of Sorrow (Signum Classics)

When James I's son Prince Henry died aged 18 in 1612, from infection picked up during an ill-advised swim in the Thames, the outpouring of grief was fulsome.

Gordon Brown: While the world looks elsewhere, a nation is dying in silence

It now has a name: "the hunger season". The United Nations rapporteur on food has described what is going on as "silent mass murder".

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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