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A liver transplant patient turned up to her operation appointment at a German hospital with a bottle of vodka in her bag, a court has heard.

Postcard from... Berlin

Communist East Germany may have been killed off with the fall of the Berlin Wall 23 years ago, but its products live on – and on. Some 90,000 former East German citizens queued up in freezing temperatures over the weekend to get into east Berlin's Yuletide phenomenon for insiders – a Christmas market dedicated to selling “Ossiware” – goods that were being produced in East Germany before 1989 and still are.

German court warns Catholics: pay church tax or face expulsion

Judges back bishops' cash demands over grassroots opposition
The eurozone crisis has split Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat Party

Former loyalist accuses Angela Merkel of crushing dissent

Chancellor under attack from her own party as splits widen over how to deal with Greece crisis

The earless bunny at a zoo in Limbach-Oberfrohna, eastern Germany

Earless celebrity bunny accidentally killed by TV cameraman

An earless baby bunny that was a rising star on Germany's celebrity animal scene had his 15 minutes of fame brought to an abrupt end when he was accidentally stepped on by a television cameraman.

Great Works: Die Stickerin, 2008 (300cm x 420cm), Neo Rauch

Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica

Early women had to go forth and multiply, while men stayed home

Some 90 per cent of men seem to have lived and died in the place where they were born compared to half of women

Rifleman: A Front-Line Life, By Victor Gregg with Rick Stroud

A born survivor’s gripping tale

King of Saxony's family win payout from state

The east German state of Saxony was obliged yesterday to pay millions in compensation to descendants of the 17th century king "August the Strong" for hundreds of valuable porcelain artefacts confiscated by the communist authorities after the Second World War.

Album: Bach, Weihnachts-Oratorium (Decca)

The Leipzig Gewandhausorchester's brilliant sound dances in Riccardo Chailly's jubilant recording of Bach's Christmas Oratorio.

Volodos/Chailly/Leipzig Gewandhaus, Barbican

As the concerto that everyone knows – put to a myriad showbiz uses, including the Olympic torch relay in Moscow, and the credit sequence for ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ – Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1 might be thought to have been worked to death, but its allure stays evergreen.

Battle of Britain heroes saluted in service

The courage and sacrifice of those who fought off the Nazis to win the Battle of Britain was remembered today.

HP accused of paying bribes to seal deal in Russia

German prosecutors uncover suspicious international money trail

Album: Bach, Matthäus Passion, (Decca)

Leipzig owns the St Matthew Passion.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
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Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
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Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform