Travel Shore leave: a sunset stroll

In this week's Lonely Planet 'Great Escape', be the first to catch the Australian sunrise, then re-align your chakras on the shores of New South Wales's blissed-out beach retreat

God's Dog, By Diego Marani; trans Judith Landry: Book review - detective novel reimagines Rome as a sinister theocratic state

"My name is Domingo Salazar; I was born on the feast of Saint Dominic and brought up by the Dominican Fathers. I am a policeman, I see to it that the laws of our Holy Mother Church are respected and I work for the worldwide spread of that same Church… I studied at the patriarchal monastery in Bologna and then at the Papal Police Academy in Rome, which I left with the rank of inspector in the fifth year of the reign of Pope Benedict XVIII."

King Tutankhamun was buried with an upright penis in order to portray him as Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of the afterlife, new research suggests

King Tutankhamun was mummified with an erect penis to 'quash religious revolution'

The ancient Egyptian pharaoh was buried with an erect penis, no heart and covered in black oils to make him appear as the god Osiris, new study claims

The United Nations building in New York

Christianity dominates United Nations, concludes study

More than 70% religious non-government organisations (NGOs) at the UN are Christian

The 10 best hair tools

Want to make a style statement this NYE? Try one of these curlers, stylers and straighteners on your locks to see in 2014 with a new do

Kalashnikov with his creation, the most successful assault rifle ever made

Is Mikhail Kalashnikov in Hell? The man was confident he would not go there

World view: When I met him, his Siberian eyes were as alert as a wolf’s; he was brash, tough, unashamed. I guess he had to be

Batten down the hatches – its Defcon Crimbo

Here comes the Christmas juggernaut. Batten down the hatches. Raise the mistletoe. Double the electricity bill on exterior festive lighting. I'm very bah humbug regarding Christmas whereas Stacey is full steam ahead – Defcon Crimbo.

Pope Francis gives Christmas presents to 2,000 immigrants

Pope had gift packages delivered to the Dono di Maria homeless shelter in Rome

Mother of Michael Adebowale said son was ‘lured by evil ones’

Juliet Adebowale said her son had only met Michael Adebolajo just seven weeks before

Russell Howard has been forced to deny that he has accepted an invitation to perform at an upcoming benefit gig for the Church of Scientology.

Russell Howard forced to deny Scientology benefit gig rumours

The comedian was rumoured to be performing for the controversial church for eye-watering ticket prices of up to £1,000

Michael Adebolajo in court

Lee Rigby murder trial: Defendants will not face charge of conspiracy to murder

The two men in the dock over the killing of Lee Rigby will no longer face the additional charge of conspiracy to murder a police officer.

Christians at a village Christian church service in Henan Province, China

Sky News crew trapped as China crowd turns on detained Christian pastor

A group of Chinese rights lawyers advocating for a detained Christian pastor and his aides in central China said they were assaulted Friday by a crowd of unidentified people who also harassed a British television crew.

Pope Francis named Time Magazine's person of the Year: The new spiritual leader on the block

The award recognises impact, not ethics. But in the Pope's case, we have a voice reminding us of tenderness, mercy and compassion

People sing and dance in heavy rain while waiting for the start of the official memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at the First National Bank stadium in Johannesburg

In pictures: Nelson Mandela memorial service in Soweto

Over 60 heads of state have travelled to South Africa to attend a week of events commemorating the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela passed away on the evening of 5 December 2013 at his home in Houghton at the age of 95.

Nelson Mandela in 1956

Nelson Mandela life story: Thabo Mbeki's praise poem

'You have stood at the brink...'

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Independent Travel
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona from £629pp
Dubrovnik
Vietnam
Bruges
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 12 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas