Joan Smith: Peculiar case of Inspector Norse

Our writer hunts for clues for the popularity of Nordic writers

Iceland rejects repayment deal again

Icelanders rejected for a second time a plan to repay €4bn (£3.5bn; $5.8bn) to Britain and the Netherlands from a bank crash, results showed today, and the prime minister said economic and political chaos could follow.

In pictures: Dieter Roth's Reykjavik Slides

Dieter Roth is probably most famous for his artist’s books and the sculptures he fashioned from chocolate, cheese and other organic matter. But his career as an artist, composer and poet took many forms, some more conventional than others.

Ten top spring festivals

1 Germany

The Liszt 2011 festival (liszt-2011.com), for the composer's bicentenary, starts today. The website has ideas on where to stay.

Ten top...City Spring Breaks

1 Liverpool

The Beatles-themed Hard Days Night Hotel (harddaysnighthotel .com) is offering double rooms from £105 per night this spring.

The Hedonist: Reykjavik

What to see and where to be seen

The snow is clearing... now for the ice age

For most of Britain, a brief thaw is on its way – but roads are set to freeze over tomorrow as temperatures plummet again

Operation Napoleon, By Arnaldur Indridason

When the blood doesn't run cold

Iceland Airwaves: The coolest festival in the world

Pop festivals are almost always associated with the summer; but this week showed that you can have one in freezing winter temperatures. Iceland Airwaves takes place in October in Reykjavik, and features a host of top UK bands as well as highlighting the thriving Icelandic scene which produced Bjork and Sigur Ros. Many new Icelandic acts lived up to their memorable names, even though this can take some doing with acts such as Rabbi Bananas.

A life in portrait: Brian Griffin's latest collection

In the early Seventies, the photographer Brian Griffin began his career taking shots of businessmen for Management Today magazine. His approach, as you may deduce from the images here, was rather unconventional.

Take a spin around Iceland – by hot tub

Economic woes inspired tourism chiefs to look at new ways to attract visitors. Rhiannon Batten took the plunge

Ashes to Dust By Yrsa Sigurdardottir, trans. Philip Roughton

Secrets of a painful past exhumed

Iceland: Go with the flow in the shadow of a volcano

Iceland's lava-strewn Westmann Islands, home to an abundance of seabirds, are about to get easier to reach.

Fischer's remains exhumed for DNA

Authorities in Iceland have exhumed the body of the American chess champion Bobby Fischer to determine whether he is the father of a nine-year-old girl from the Philippines.

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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
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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

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The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
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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
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

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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

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

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Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
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Holocaust Memorial Day

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Magnetic north

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Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story