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Under £200... Capital Christmas shopping

Tune Hotels offers a budget pre-Christmas stay in the English and Scottish capitals, with double rooms for £50 at some London properties and £25 in Edinburgh. These rates apply on a few nights between now and Christmas, with availability good on 23, 24 and 25 December. tunehotels.com

Classical music: The biggest hitter in percussion today

Evelyn Glennie, Leonard Slatkin

Minor's major work

CLASSICAL OPERA COMPANY BUXTON OPERA FESTIVAL AND ROYAL COLLEGE OF MUSIC

Music: Just singing, singing in the rain

OPEN the Garsington Festival programme-book, and the first thing you find is an advertisement for Hello! magazine - which tells you something about the sort of people you're probably sitting next to. But in the past 10 years - and yes, it is now a decade since Leonard Ingrams started sharing opera with his neighbours - Garsington has managed to transcend the social and the decorative. It's a deadly serious undertaking, with a track record that includes the rediscovery of Haydn's virtually forgotten stage-works and the re-evaluation of rare Strauss scores. And few things could be more serious (or potentially more deadly) than Lucio Silla, which opened there on Tuesday.

Christmas broadcast for Silent Night's lost verses

Three forgotten verses of "Silent Night", Britain's favourite carol, have been rediscovered in an Austrian manuscript more than 200 years after they were penned by a penurious priest, writes Vanessa Thorpe.

Seven killed in gun rampage

Seven killed in gun rampage

The Skier's Guide To Austria

countries, writes Tania Alexander

Skiing: High season, low tech

You don't need such hi-tech facilities as lifts and cable cars to go skiing - with the right equipment you can simply clamber up the mountains. Richard Holledge goes touring at the tiny Austrian resort of Kuhtai.

Interview: `Othello' comes into his own at National

A co-production of `Othello' between the German director Peter Stein and Sam Mendes of the National Theatre offers both a fascinating contrast in cultural approaches and some surprising similarities

Edinburgh Festival: Music: Putting on a brave Front Not enough time, alas, for this 'Child' Flow of wisdom at the water's edge

Long traditions of democracy and meanness have made Britain rather good at the sort of festival that blurs the divide between professional and amateur, participant and listener. It gives everyone a chance. It doesn't cost like Salzburg. And a good example to put beside St Endellion, which I wrote about last week, is Lake District Summer Music: an annual event that merges a temporary academy for young string players with a public platform for distinguished artists who come both to play and teach.

1789 and all that

Roderic Dunnett enjoys a bold but not always audible staging of Von Einem's `Danton's Death' at the Brighton Festival; "Give Couthon my head, Robespierre my balls, and perhaps they'll stop baying in the streets."

Obituary: Brian Merrikin Hill

Brian Merrikin Hill was, in the last decades of his life, widely valued as a poet, a translator of poetry and as long-time editor of the poetry magazine Pennine Platform. Although not inclined to seek fame, he was regarded as a compeer by poets as distinguished as Kathleen Raine and David Gascoyne. The Blakean title of his 1984 book Wakeful in the Sleep of Time gives some indication of how seriously he viewed the poet's vocation.

Obituary: Sndor Vegh

The death of Sndor Vegh sees the passing of one of the last of the great Hungarian violinists who could trace their traditions back through Hubay and Joachim to the Italian violinist Viotti. Vegh was, throughout his long career, soloist, chamber musician, conductor and teacher, and it would be difficult to say in which of these activities he served best the cause of music. In other words, he was a giant, whose accomplishments are indelibly etched upon every one of his undertakings.

'Twas the nightie before Christmas

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Brown heeds history lesson

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Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

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Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

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The future of GM

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Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

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Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
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The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

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Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

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