News Pope Francis appears to have been captured on video performing an exorcism in St Peter’s Square

The diocese in Italy is training priests to meet increasing demand for exorcisms

Killer son stabbed 'witch' mother 21 times

A divorced father of three stabbed his mother 21 times after becoming convinced that she was a witch and had put a curse on him, a court heard today.

Album: AA Bondy, When the Devil's Loose (Fat Possum)

Too understated and unoriginal to find its way on to anyone's albums of the year lists, the second solo effort from the former Verbena (nope, never heard of them either) singer will, none the less, tickle these ears more frequently than many a "worthier" contender. It'sa gentle work of simplepleasures: Bondy's bruisedbut never broken voiceproviding the perfect foilfor his melancholic butnever miserable songs.Think Ryan Adams' Heartbreakerif it had songsabout vampires andwerewolves. True Bloodmakers take note.

Iran arrests 12 accused of promoting satanism

Twelve people accused of promoting satanism have been arrested in northwest Iran, a newspaper reported today.

Fine Just the Way It Is, By Annie Proulx

Annie Proulx's superlative writing is showcased once again in these moving, bittersweet tales of life in 19th-century and early 20th-century Wyoming.

Album: Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions, Through the Devil...(Nettwerk)

A second collaboration between the Mazzy Star singer and her Bloody Valentine, Colm O Ciosoig.

The Last Witch, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

You're an evil stoat of a woman," complains Janet Horne's neighbour, who has accused her of witchcraft, "but you are an entertainment." Rona Munro's new play tells the story of the last Scottish witch-burning in 1727. Its debates on magic and power are rooted in the dynamics of a tiny, vividly drawn community.

Album: Lightning Dust, Infinite Light (Jagjaguwar)

Lightning Dust is the side-project of Black Mountain's Amber Webber and Joshua Wells – not that you'd guess it from listening to their second album Infinite Light.

Witch wanted: salary £50,000

A tourist attraction is advertising in the Jobcentre for a witch to live in one of its caves and is offering a £50,000 salary.

The Devil's Paintbrush, By Jake Arnott

The Game of Consequences is a fine generator of story: historical or literary personages can be slammed together for the sparks and banter. Most usually, the game slips into default setting and the plot consequence is that they Fight Crime. Less often, and more interestingly, imaginary conjunctions are the stuff of which a weird poetry is made, which illuminates both characters, and the age in which their careers can be made to overlap.

The Sonnets: 144

By William Shakespeare

The Devil Within, By Stephanie Merritt

"I've got to have something to hold on to," writes Anne Sexton in a poem forming the epigraph to this haunting memoir in which the turbulent world of emotion is described with admirable stylistic control. With a skilled touch, Merritt subtly unravels depression's "knot of contradictions", blending informative research with an insightful personal account in the vein of William Styron, Andrew Solomon, Lewis Wolpert and Elizabeth Wurtzel.

Witch hunts, murder and evil in Papua New Guinea

A tide of torture and killing of innocent women linked to 'sorcery' and the 'dark arts' is overwhelming the nation's police. Ramita Navai, in Port Moresby, reports

The Condition of the Working Class in England, By Friedrich Engels

To partner his biography, Tristram Hunt introduces a new edition of this shattering masterpiece of reportage by Marx's patron and sidekick.

Amol Rajan: Rote learning and Boris

It is one of the most deeply rooted superstitions on the Right in Britain today that only Tories believe in a thorough, rigorous academic education for all. This view has no basis in reality, and is one of those little voodoo dolls created by partisans (people on the Left do it too, of course) to give their fellow ideologues something to stick their pins into, and thereby cohere around.

Man accused of sucking blood from teen's arm cleared of assault

A university clerk accused of sucking the blood from the arm of a teenager he bit into has been cleared of assault.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?