David Flatman: Southerners aren't all soft, only Aussies

From the Front Row: Autumn Tests were the best since the last World Cup but All-Blacks remain the true test of quality

Robert Doisneau: A window into the soul of Paris

Tramps, showgirls, little scamps staring at toys in longing wonder... Robert Doisneau captured the French capital in all its dirty glory, writes the Independent's man in the French capital, John Lichfield

Cheap at half the price? MPs' expenses plummet

Expenses claimed by MPs have halved in the new Parliament, the first breakdown of payments since the general election has revealed. They were paid £3.1m between May and the end of August, with more than 70 MPs claiming nothing over that period.

Government accused of glacial response as UK counts cost of big freeze

Mounting anger over Britain's failure to cope with days of persistent snowfall boiled over yesterday as millions of workers once again stayed at home, costing the economy billions, while stranded rail travellers slept in train carriages, thousands of schools stayed shut and fears grew over fuel supplies.

MPs paid £3m in approved expenses

MPs were paid £3.1 million in expenses in the first three and a half months after the general election, details published by a watchdog showed today.

Digital Digest: 29/11/2010

The Best Of The Web

Leading article: Brain gain

Travel broadens the mind, it's long been said. Now it's official. Research shows that taking a walk, covering at least six miles a week, literally expands the size of the brain.

Harriet Walker: Let's end the tyranny of sports jocks

Young people need to be active – so send them on walks

Ethics trial over politician's tax bill

A rare ethics trial began yesterday for the Democratic congressman, Charles Rangel, who headed the House of Representatives tax-writing committee, but has acknowledged shortchanging the government on his own tax bill.

The hounding of Baskerville

Department for Transport official investigated over anti-government comments on Twitter

Tom Sutcliffe: Ancient discovery raises the spirits

The week in culture

Sales slide puts a dentin 'resilient' WHSmith

WHSmith, the book and stationery retailer, touted a "resilient" performance since September, but underlying sales fell at both its travel and high street divisions.

Citroen C6 3.0 HDI Exclusive with wifi onboard

The pace of technical development in the automotive industry has reached a giddying pace; demanding customers and legislators are insisting on big advances in safety, reliability, performance and emissions, and the manufacturers have generally risen to the challenge. There is one area, however, in which the car-makers have been reluctant innovators; the incorporation of information and communications technology into their products.

Marilyn Monroe: FragmentsEdited by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment

Last week, Damien Hirst's former flat-sitter defended his attempt to exhibit the artist's old diary by stating: "I thought it was an interesting historic artefact". Unsurprisingly, Hirst thought otherwise. Reading Marilyn Monroe's intimate musings in this long-awaited collection, one cannot help but wonder whether Monroe would be similarly mortified, or whether these papers are precious "historic artefacts" which should be published regardless. Of course, there are differences between the two cases: Hirst's diary fell into his flat-sitter's hands by accident while Monroe bequeathed her possessions to the eminent acting teacher, Lee Strasberg, whom she trusted implicitly and who held on to them until his death. It was his widow, Anna Strasberg, unacquainted with Monroe, who sold scores of items at the famed Christie's auction of 1999. She has now offered up hitherto uncatalogued "fragments" of Monroe's diary notes, poems, letters, lists, for public consumption. The book's editors are sure Monroe would have approved: "We have shared their (Anna Strasberg and her sons') desire to create a book that, we would like to think, would have pleased its author."

New wonder of the high street counts on family values

Alworths is a year old, and Andy Latham is more confident than ever that he is on the right track. Virginia Matthews reports.
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
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Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
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