Arts and Entertainment Family values: 'It's a Wonderful Life'

The Independent's film critic selects the ten best festive flicks

How being haunted affects a house's value

If a deal seems too sweet, there could be a ghostly explanation. Jimmy Lee Shreeve reports

Games Review: Midnight Club: Los Angeles

PS3, Xbox 360,Rockstar, £44.99

Bangkok Dangerous (18)

Nicolas Cage, hair an unattractive black-dyed comb-back and face ever closer in contour to Gene Wilder, stars in this Pang brothers remake of their Hong Kong thriller.

British businessman to testify against 'merchant of death'

A British businessman, Andrew Smulian, is expected to give evidence against one of the world's most notorious arms dealers, Viktor Bout. Mr Bout, born in the former Soviet Union and known as the "merchant of death", is awaiting extradition proceedings from Thailand to the US, where he faces charges of aiding a terrorist organisation. Mr Smulian, Mr Bout's British-born long-term associate, is believed to have provided evidence for the prosecution.

Album: Paul Woolford presents Bobby Peru, The Truth (20:20 Vision)

As could be gleaned from "Erotic Discourse", the hit single that preceded it, the second album of electro and tech house music that the experienced Leeds-based producer and DJ Paul Woolford has released in his Bobby Peru guise (named after Willem Dafoe's character in 'Wild at Heart') is largely comprised of tough beats, angular synth stabs and some punishing acid lines.

Next (12A)

Death Proof (DVD)

Momentum Quentin Tarantino's 'Death Proof' – one half of the abortive 'Grindhouse' double bill he conceived with Robert Rodriguez – is his homage to the road thrillers of the Sixties and Seventies. It begins with a gang of young women chatting, then they're terrorised by the psychotic Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell), and then the same scenario is repeated with different women and a different outcome. The highway sequences are OK, but the miles of vapid dialogue in between are so dull that 'Pulp Fiction' fans may want to pretend that 'Death Proof' never happened.

Victoria Summerley: Town Life

Know what my favourite Disney film is? Beauty and the Beast. I love the scene where the Beast takes Belle into the vast library in his castle and she decides that there might be more to him between the covers, as it were. There's something very appealing about a heroine who can be seduced by the prospect of a book at bedtime.

First UK face transplants get go-ahead

London surgeons expected to win approval from ethics experts to carry out operations on four patients

FILM OF THE WEEK: Stand back - this guy's packing irony

Con Air Today, 9pm FIVE

The mandolin, and other crowd-pullers

Mark Rowe chooses 10 hit films and television series that put their locations on the map

Album: Lisa Marie Presley

To Whom It May Concern, Capitol

De Bernieres takes revenge for review

AS LITERARY literary spats go, this is one of the more unlikely. Louis de Bernieres, author of best-seller Captain Corelli's Mandolin, has reacted furiously to a bad review in the Morning Star.

American Times Los Angeles: Telephone hell in the City of Angels

IN LOS ANGELES, your telephone area code is who you are. A bit like postcodes in London, or arrondissement numbers in Paris, area codes have connotations far beyond the bureaucratic shorthand in which they were conceived.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

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Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003