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The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

Mark Ravenhill rehearses with the RSC

Wooster Group and the RSC: Strange bedfellows...

New York experimentalists The Wooster Group are joining forces with the RSC for an unconventional Troilus and Cressida. Matt Trueman drops in on rehearsals

A lot of huffing and puffing but HuffPo has yet to find its niche

After the grand fanfare from Arianna Huffington, I've been slightly disappointed by the impact of her eponymous website since its arrival in the United Kingdom a year ago.

Comic strip for intellectuals: Gaiman announces surprise Sandman prequel

Neil Gaiman, the comic book writer, novelist and screenwriter, is to return to the series that helped launch his career with a new edition of The Sandman in time for the celebrated work’s 25th anniversary. 

Mitt Romney, 3rd from left, poses with other partners at Bain Capital during his tenure at the firm. He has been accused of staying on at Bain for three years longer than his claimed departure date

Was Romney's blighted spell at Bain three years longer than he admits?

Mitt Romney wants the election to be about the under-performing US economy. Alas however, the main topic on the campaign trail this week has been his business affairs, and yesterday brought more trouble: charges that he stayed on as head of Bain Capital, the private equity group where he made his fortune, for three years beyond his claimed departure date.

Lear, left, as Irina Arkadina in 'The Seagull' in Washington in 1978

Evelyn Lear: Soprano lauded for her ‘supreme’ portrayal of Berg’s Lulu

She sang more lyrical roles after a vocal crisis caused by too many modern, demanding parts

Former president Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter attacks Barack Obama over assassinations and drone attacks

Former president Jimmy Carter has blasted the United States for anti-terror strategies such as targeting individuals for assassination and using unmanned drones to bomb suspected targets, saying they directly flout the basic tenets of universal human rights and foment anti-US sentiment.

Hermione Eyre: Sex and drugs and folderol – this Jane Eyre mash-up gives me the vapours

No heroine of Victorian literature is safe. A steamed-up version of Charlotte Brontë's masterpiece is going to be published in August, under the title Jane Eyre Laid Bare.

HBO's Girls - Here comes trouble

Critics loved Lena Dunham's new series – till they saw it, and all hell broke loose.

Paul Krugman

Interview with economist Paul Krugman: 'Greece will leave eurozone within 12 months'

At last year’s Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in New York a superhero made his debut. He was a bearded figure called “Krug man”, who set about vanquishing the minions of the evil financial services empire with his fearsome “macro mallet”. The unlikely cartoon champion was based on Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winning economist.

Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman in 'Hemingway & Gellhorn'

Television: The importance of being Ernest (and Martha)

The reviews are in for Hemingway & Gellhorn, the racy HBO television movie that aired in the US this week, and they're almost as hotheaded as the films' subjects.

Terence Blacker: Time to put email, Twitter and texts in their place

The landline telephone rings only occasionally these days and, when it does, it often brings a call-centre hustle of some kind. Yet every day passes in a blur of staccato communication with the outside world: can you do this? Have you seen that? Nudge, link, like, follow. The rhythm of online correspondence provides an easy sort of company, and can sometimes – not always – make life more convenient, but there is a price to be paid. We are losing the art of conversation.

Terence Blacker: Don't confuse talk with genuine conversation

The landline telephone rings only occasionally these days and more often than not, when it does, it brings a call-centre hustle of some kind. Yet every day passes in a blur of sustained, staccato communication with the outside world: can you do this? Have you seen that? Nudge, link, like, follow.

Secret Service agents sacked over prostitutes

The US Secret Service is moving quickly to quell a prostitution scandal, sacking three agents less than a week after the embarrassing incident came to light.

The brand has quickly, and carefully, cultivated a following among downtown scenesters and fashion industry types

Any colour, as long as it's black

Johan Lindeberg brings decades of denim expertise to his latest label. Peter Lyle meets the designer

The Belgian-born designer, Raf Simons, was the creative director at Jil Sander

Simons steps into Galliano's shoes as new head of Dior

Belgian designer to take up 'poisoned chalice' after his predecessor left the label in disgrace

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
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Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
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Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
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Virtual reality headset: 'Essentially a cinema screen that you strap to your face'
techHow virtual reality is thrusting viewers into frontline of global events and putting film-goers at the heart of the action
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Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness