Arts and Entertainment Rome sweet Rome: Tony Servillo in 'The Great Beauty'

From its delirious opening montage of disco divas, ageing socialites and strippers at play – one imagines Berlusconi's bunga bunga in a nutshell – Paolo Sorrentino's Roman satire has its sights fixed on epic greatness. There's a touch of La Dolce Vita in its fluid portrait of the city as carnival, with its parade of nuns, tourists, freaks, hangers-on, performance artists and other jokers. It is overseen by the dapper, disenchanted Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), a journalist who once wrote a great novel but is now more famous for his roof-terrace parties and languid cynicism. The haute bourgeoisie circles Jep moves in turn a blind eye and a Botoxed pout to the depressed, debased society around them, preferring to dance themselves dizzy and drink themselves silly. (Sample dialogue: "What job do you do?" "Me? I'm rich". "Great job"). Nor is there any recourse to religion when Vatican prelates offer not spiritual succour but top cooking tips.

Ben Hur star Charlton Heston dies

Charlton Heston, who won the 1959 best actor Oscar as the chariot-racing Ben Hur and portrayed Moses, Michelangelo, El Cid and other figures in Hollywood epics of the 1950s and 60s, has died aged 84, his family said today.

Rivane Neuenschwander, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

Now you see it, now you don't

Innovation of the year: The blueprints for our future

As the Design Museum prepares to announce the award for the most stylish innovation of the year, Alice Jones introduces the seven category winners

My secret life: Tahita Bulmer, singer, age 26

The house/flat I grew up in ... was all over the world. Between the ages of 8 and 13, my mum and I travelled so we had no fixed abode and I was out of school for ages. It set me up well for the life I lead now, one based in rootlessness.

Cultural Life: Marcelo Alvarez, opera singer

Books
I am studying my contractual rights as an opera singer, so I am reading a lot of legal books, covering all of Europe. I read The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I've always been interested in philosophical and religious themes in books, and I studied these subjects at university. I enjoyed the way the author put Mary Magdalene back in the spotlight because the importance of the role of women in the Church is often ignored.

The 5-minute Interview: Steve Harley, Singer, actor, presenter

'Half of the world believes I've only recorded one album'

Robert Fisk: Film-makers must atone for their sins

Cultural censorship is like a disease. It moves among us unseen. Let me show you how it works. Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth gave Cate Blanchett a unique moment to recreate the Virgin Queen in his 1998 film. But the sequel, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, is a clunker because – in the one vital scene where Elizabeth demonstrates to her soldiers that she is among them as their fighting sovereign – when she addresses her troops at Tilbury before the expected arrival of the Spanish Armada in 1588, her most famous statement, learned by every schoolboy in Britain, has been ruthlessly expunged.

Has 'David' got too big for Florence?

A proposal to move Michelangelo's most famous sculpture from its home in a Florentine gallery has provoked uproar among the art elite. Peter Popham reports

The art of seduction

Are these images tasteless? Did the Old Masters simply produce a better class of pornography? A new exhibition offers some answers, says Tom Lubbock

Femi Kuti: 'We are in a state of anarchy'

Femi Kuti says he has cut down on interviews because they get him so worked up. But ask him to comment on Nigerian politics and there's instantly a venomous tirade, says Alex Hannaford

Buonarroti, Michelangelo: The Creation of Adam (1510)

The Independent's Great Art series

de La Tour, Georges: The Dream of St Joseph (c1640)

We know you saw something, says the scientific investigator to the haunted heroine in the classic scary film. We know you had some kind of experience. We don't think you're making it up. But as to whether what you saw was a genuine visitation, or all in the mind, or a trick of the light, we're not going to jump to conclusions. After all, we are living in the 20th century.

Injury to Djokovic eases path for Nadal

The French Open is usually the most unpredictable of the four Grand Slam events. Gaston Gaudio, the winner here two years ago, was unseeded, as were Martin Verkerk and Mariano Puerta, beaten finalists in 2003 and 2005. Semi-finalists in the last 10 years include never-to-be-remembered names like Filip Dewulf, Fernando Meligeni and Franco Squillari.

EU warned it will miss target on biodiversity

Climate change poses an immediate challenge to the European Union target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010, according to a report from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Bruegel the Elder, Pieter: The Strife of Lent with Shrovetide (1550s)

Caravaggio dismissed the work of a rival painter with the remark that his "canvases were playing cards". It's an occupational hazard for anyone painting images on a flat surface. However much the artist pursues a sense of deep space and rounded volume, there is the risk that the solid bodies he depicts will go as flat as those figures of kings and queens and knaves that appear on cards.

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Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?