Arts and Entertainment

Literary prescriptions for modern ailments

The Eclipse: Germany - World shares a strange ceremony of science, superstition and awe

BERLIN'S SPARROWS paid no attention, twittering away as darkness descended on the city. Humans, though, stopped in their tracks.

The Eclipse: Italy - World shares a strange ceremony of science, superstition and awe

THE POPE joined millions of Italians scrutinising the sky yesterday after cutting short his weekly audience so as not to miss the last eclipse of the millennium. "I'll stop now, as I know that some among you are in a hurry to view the eclipse," he told his audience in the Vatican before flying by helicopter to his holiday residence at Castelgandolfo in time for the event.

The Eclipse: Hungary - World shares a strange ceremony of science, superstition and awe

MILLIONS OF eclipse-watchers flocked to Hungary's Lake Balaton to see the total solar eclipse over this inland sea, the largest lake in central Europe, its 600 square kilometres of tranquil waters packed with every kind of craft.

The Eclipse: France - World shares a strange ceremony of science, superstition and awe

DESPITE APOCALYPTIC forecasts that the Moon would become glued to the Sun and the Mir space station would fall on Paris, the most untoward incident in France before or during yesterday's brief mid-day darkening of the skies was a sunglasses riot in Marseilles.

Theatre: Skilful hokum

THE DARKER FACE OF THE EARTH COTTESLOE THEATRE LONDON

FICTION IN BRIEF

2 The Great Ideas by Suzanne Cleminshaw, Fourth Estate pounds 14.99. Haddie is 13, bright, inquisitive, justly unnerved at the fact that she has the same name as her sister, dead before she was born. Haddie the first fell out of a window in the next-door house, smashing her head on the concrete. Haddie the second worries obsessively at the incident which her best friend, 16-year-old Louis Lewis, might have witnessed as a toddler.

Books: A plunge into loopholes between Logic and Life

Novel? Encyclopaedia? How-to manual? Liz Jensen gets mixed messages; The Great Ideas by Suzanne Cleminshaw Fourth Estate, pounds 14.99, 312pp

Cricket: Kiwis must swallow bitter fruit

Graeme Wright at Edgbaston watches and winces with his compatriots

Education Comment: Monsanto may or may not be greedy, but its managers won't destroy its own business by poisoning its customers

TWO YEARS ago I was asked to chair a working party for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics to look at the regulations governing introducing genetically modified food plants into Britain: the subject is only mildly interesting ethically as most issues that medicine and animal husbandry raise are not at stake. Plants don't have rights, and it's not easy to be cruel to them. There are interesting ethical puzzles about our relationship with the natural world, but they are too metaphysically complex to build public policy on.

Agony for agnostics agony: God's Funeral by A N Wilson John Murray, pounds 20, 402pp

As the sea of faith receded, late-Victorian free-thinkers looked forward to a century of peace and truth. Little did they know... Christopher Hawtree asks why reason's victory turned sour

Politics: The Sketch - The PM has some good news - there's no bad news

AS TRIUMPHS go it was a very muted affair. Mr Blair rose at 3.30pm to make his statement about Kosovo with the next best thing to good news: No confirmed bad news. He did so to the most doubtful of cheers from the Labour Party, as though a kind of superstitious dread of premature celebration had hushed his supporters.

Faith & Reason: Elvis, Dawkins, the Pope and the lesser of evils

Want to know the difference between religion and mere supersition? Then first consider the distinctions between atheism and science and decide which could best do business with organised crime

The Information On `The Carmelites'

What Is It?

Film: A superior intelligence with just a hint of the perverse

Woody Allen says she is an `acting genius'. She, typically, disagrees. Adam Mars-Jones meets Judy Davis

Travel: Where Santa Claus was born and King Midas lost his touch

In the shadow of a volcano in Cappadocia, Jonathan Begg encounters a land drenched in history and covered in the strangest rock formations
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Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
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