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On a per capita basis, the nation has all the ingredients to be one of the world's most prosperous nations

The mysteries of Richard III are far from solved, says literary expert

Today's confirmation that remains found beneath a car park in Leicester are those of the last Plantagenet king of England will not strip the mystery from one of William Shakespeare's greatest plays, a literary expert has predicted.

Five injured after Romanian airliner 'bounces off runway' in Italy

A Romanian airliner "bounced" off the runway while landing at Rome's main airport during heavy winds, injuring a flight attendant and four passengers.

The birthplace of Adolf Hitler in Braunau, Austria

Adolf Hitler's birthplace could be used to help integrate immigrants

Charity hopes to provide language and integration courses

Cesc Fabregas struck for Barça at the Bernabeu last night
<p>Gritti Palace San Marco</p>
<p>Roll out the red carpet: this grande dame returns on Friday, following a 15-month facelift. Built for the Doge of Venice in 1525, it acted as the Gritti family's official residence for years, before becoming a hotel in the 19th century. It's been a Starwood property since 1994, and its latest transformation features rococo sofas, Murano chandeliers and rich Rubelli textiles restored, with designer Donghia furniture and antique Girandole mirrors added to the lavish mix. Notable guests lend their names to the 21 suites – Hemingway and Guggenheim among them – while the Club del Doge restaurant flaunts tables beside the Grand Canal.</p>
<p>Gritti Palace, Santa Maria del Giglio, San Marco (00 39 041 296 1222; thegrittipalace.com). Doubles start at €485, with breakfast.</p>

The Big Six: Venetian palace hotels

Notable guests, romantic retreats and ultra-chic hideaways

Not just Mona Lisa's smile? Da Vinci's La Bella Principessa also has 'uncatchable' expression

It is the most-visited, the most written about and the most parodied work of art in the world but the ‘uncatchable smile’ that makes Leonard da Vinci’s Mona Lisa so special is not unique according to experts.

The naked truth: Nadav Kander, Bodies. 6 Women, 1 Man, Flowers Gallery, London

Nadav Kander was inspired by ideas of Elizabethan purity to create these stunning photographic portraits of six nude females and one male. 

Infrared By Nancy Huston

An ambitious novel of passions and ideas gets under the skin of its rootless heroine

Sacked banker wins bonus case

Société Générale has lost a lawsuit brought by an investment banker whom it fired from its London office, which could cost it as much as €20m (£16m).

The Fall of the Stone City, By Ismail Kadare, trans. John Hodgson

A mysterious and masterful novel that captures a pivotal moment in Albania's history

Josephsohn, Hauser & Wirth, London

"When I was offended in the Nazi era, I couldn’t respond," the late sculptor Hans Josephsohn explained in 2001. "Whenever a Hitler Youth leader insulted me, I wasn’t able to hit him."

Bartoli,Fasolis, kammerorchesterbasel, Barbican, ***/ Gerhaher, Huber, Wigmore Hall, *****

Cecilia Bartoli always has a project, and her current one is to resurrect the work of Agostino Steffani (1654-1728) who combined the roles of spy, singer, bishop, and opera composer.

Make a splash: fountains outside Kosice’s cathedral

Every street tells a story in Kosice

This intriguing city with Slovakian and Hungarian heritage is next year’s European Capital of Culture

What's the secret of shapely legs?

The secret of shapely legs revealed

Curves and length signal both frailty and strength, finds Roger Dobson

Henry VIII's court recreated at Buckingham Palace art exhibition

The politics and personalities that dominated King Henry VIII's court are recreated in a new exhibition at Buckingham Palace.

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Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
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After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
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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
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