Arts and Entertainment

Sweetness and light among shame and confusion. The greatest of all novels is Leo Tolstoy's final novel, Resurrection. Its effect upon a reader is immense and immediate. Even after eight readings of various translations, I continue to feel its spell and admire its complexity.

A triumph for man, a disaster for mankind

Two ships are finishing the first commercial navigation of the fabled North-east Passage. It is an epic moment – but also a vivid sign of climate change in the Arctic

Resurrection, By Leo Tolstoy

First published in 1900, Tolstoy's final large-scale novel has divided critics. A relentless, over-moralistic trudge through misery and squalor, as conscience-stricken Prince Dmitri sets out to rescue Katyusha, whom he once seduced, from the cruelty of Russian justice – and redeem himself? Or a radical, visionary blend of searing critique and soaring idealism?

64 still missing after disaster at Siberia dam

Sixty-four people missing after a disaster at Russia's largest hydro-electric dam are probably dead, the owner said yesterday.

Leading article: Lessons from a Siberian disaster

The accident at Russia's largest hydro-electric power station, the Sayano-Shushenskaya plant in Siberia, has so far cost more than 70 lives. The pictures show utter devastation in the cavernous turbine hall. As much as one quarter of the electricity Russia generates by hydro-power has been knocked out. The authorities say repairs will take many months and the expense will run into billions of roubles.

Solved: riddle of Siberia's flattened forest

A century on, scientists say massive explosion was caused by comet collision

Jeremy Warner: Bank needs true outsiders on financial stability

Outlook Nobody is going to disagree too much with the four directors appointed yesterday from the Court of the Bank of England to the newly created Financial Stability Committee. Roger Carr, Sir David Lees, Mark Tucker, and Harrison Young all no doubt make worthy guardians of banking stability.

Album: Eleni Karaindrou, Dust of Time (ECM)

This is Greek composer Karaindrou's latest score for a film by Theo Angelopoulos, for whom she has written for 25 years. The pattern is similar to its predecessors, and no less stately, with slow, almost unbearably intense orchestral themes foregrounded by harp, cello, piano and violin. It's a conception of film scoring that recalls Maurice Jarre, where the steady accretion of atmosphere counts for more than musical "events". Exquisitely doomy, though.

Far North, By Marcel Theroux

Marcel Theroux conveys in this novel a sense of how precarious and precious our technologically maintained liberal democracies are. Makepeace is the last inhabitant of a failed settlement in northern Siberia, established before war brought the civilised world crashing down. In conversation with a fellow inmate at a slave camp, she remarks that it only takes three days for hunger and desperation to overcome all civilised instinct in a person. Her friend smiles and replies that she has a bleak view of human nature – in his experience, it's closer to four days.

US and Russian satellites collide over Siberia

Two big communications satellites collided in the first-ever crash of its kind in orbit, shooting out a pair of massive debris clouds and posing a slight risk to the international space station.

Mark Steel: Snowmen are costing Britain billions

It's fine to skip work to play in the snow. But strike, and you wreck the country

The State Counsellor, By Boris Akunin

Many new acquaintances of Boris Akunin's dandyish detective may find, after joining him for this sixth adventure, that they have to lock the door against the chill and catch up with the rest. Dapper and droll, Erast Fandorin is a semi-detached sleuth in late-Tsarist Moscow who can charm like Wimsey even as he plots like Bond.

Swans stay in 'warm' Siberia

The late arrival in Britain of migratory birds from Russian region is being blamed on global warming, Ian Johnston reports

Exclusive: The methane time bomb

Arctic scientists discover new global warming threat as melting permafrost releases millions of tons of a gas 20 times more damaging than carbon dioxide

Russia denies terror link to air disaster

A Russian airliner has crashed in the Urals, killing all 88 people on board including a general who led the Russian army in Chechnya in 2000.

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