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'Precious' sweeps indie film awards

"Precious," the harrowing tale of an incest survivor's struggle for self-acceptance, swept the Spirit Awards yesterday, taking home five prizes at the independent film world's version of the Oscars.

Precious, Lee Daniels, 115 mins, (15)

The troubles of its central character are laid on with a trowel in a film that's part social tract, part dramatised talk-show therapy

Precious (15)

Very hard times in Harlem

My Way: Stefano Zagni, founder of Angel Champagne

'Have an idea, believe in it and follow your gut instincts'

Gabourey Sidibe: The girl who divided black America

Morbidly obese, illiterate, abused physically and emotionally by her parents – and adored by white critics... Why controversial new movie 'Precious' has African-Americans in turmoil

Mariah Carey: 'Music was my escape'

Controversy never seems far from Mariah Carey – so she's hoping that a fresh foray into acting will generate more positive headlines

Mariah Carey 'had Paris Hilton sacked'

Mariah Carey reportedly had Paris Hilton sacked from a music video.

Susie Rushton: The raw truth about TV chefs in the flesh

Urban Notebook

Cultural Life: Pixie Lott, Singer

Music

James Morrison's new tune "You Give me Something", Kings of Leon's new album 'Aha Shake Heartbreak', Jazmine Sullivan's album 'Fearless', and Jay-Z's song "Empire State of Mind" with Alicia Keys.

Guy Adams: The path to precious success at the Oscars

Los Angeles Notebook

How Precious became Hollywood's next big thing

Obese, pregnant teenagers are rarely the subject of hit movies – but the US is falling in love with a heavyweight new star

Album: Mika, The Boy Who Knew Too Much (Island)

According to Mika, the songs on his second album deal with his teenage years – which presumably means that the multi-million-selling Life In Cartoon Motion dealt with his early childhood, which would explain why it sounded like the musical equivalent of a dressing-up box being ransacked.

Album: Mariah Carey, Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel (Mercury)

Once upon a time, Mariah Carey's albums had infantile titles like Butterfly, Rainbow, Glitter and Charmbracelet – sickly-sweet enough to be some pre-teen cartoon superheroine line-up.

Michael Jackson at the Gates of Heaven and Hell, Underbelly

A mere eight weeks have passed since the demise of Michael Jackson and here, inevitably, comes the Fringe's response. Put together with what could be considered indecent haste, this play about the King of Pop's adventures in the afterlife turns out to be a surprisingly polished affair.

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Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

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You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

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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
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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
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?