Arts and Entertainment

Literary prescriptions for modern ailments

Monks and Buddists singing scriptures

China's 100 million religious believers must banish their 'superstitions', says official

China is struggling to get its estimated 100 million religious believers to banish superstitious beliefs about things like sickness and death, the country's top religious affairs official told a state-run newspaper.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis

QPR boss Harry Redknapp puzzled by criticism of Stoke manager Tony Pulis

The two sides meet in a relegation battle at Loftus Road this weekend

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Bristol Old Vic

There are some lovely things in it, and there's one riotous surge of profane comic energy, but a faint sense of disappointment lingers over this much-anticipated reunion of director Tom Morris and South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company, the team that conquered the world with the wondrous War Horse.

Hirsutes you, sir... but it might not make you smarter

The exam beard oozes intellectual machismo and is a great soother in times of stress

The Essex Jonathan Meades has known all his adult life is grossly at odds with the Essex of popular mythology and hackneyed mediation

The Joy of Essex: In praise of much-maligned ancient county

In recent years, the ancient county has been associated with fake tan and melodrama. In fact, argues Jonathan Meades, it’s one of the most extraordinary parts of Britain

The Undiscovered Country: Journeys Among the Dead, By Carl Watkins

A cultural history that reflects on the traditions that surround our final journey – to the coffin

Hopefully my discontent with winter will be made glorious summer by this boiler repair man

Some people say they like winter because you get to stay inside and watch box sets. I'm sorry to report, those people are wrong

Postcard from... Jun

Over the past seven years and against all expectations, a small dormitory town on the outskirts of Granada has established itself as Spain's number-one destination for gay weddings.

Art Larsen: Tennis player whose prodigious talents were matched by his eccentricities

Long before Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe set foot on a tennis court, Art “Tappy” Larsen created the mould for fiery and successful American left-handers.

Interview with a Pendle witch

Four centuries after the infamous witch trials of 1612, artist Joe Hesketh is a modern day Halloween witch from Pendle. Matilda Battersby meets her

George Carey, a Nazi slur, and how not to conduct the debate over same-sex marriage in Britain

At a rally against same-sex marriage in Birmingham yesterday, the former Archbishop of Canterbury proved himself to be spectacularly oblivious to irony

The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, Edited by Steve Roud and Julia Bishop

Does this expert guide to a musical heritage throw out the mystery along with the myths?

Full moon: The algorithm regards a full moon as a bad omen. In Greek mythology, werewolves appeared shortly after the full moon

Superstitious can play the markets with dawn of 'triskaidekaphobic trading'

Choose stocks avoiding the number 13 and using rules based on cycles of the moon

Tea with Terrorists, Brighton Fringe

Tea with Terrorists is the alarming title of Sameena Zehra’s one-woman show and while she does eventually get round to the extraordinary true story of how she once sipped Darjeeling on her porch with a band of armed outlaws, it’s the ramble around her family tree in the preceding hour that really engages.

'Independent' Foreign Fiction Prize shortlist: A whole world in their words

It called for soul-searching and sacrifice but, after much impassioned debate, the shortlist for this year's Independent Foreign Fiction Prize took the shape that you see here. If anything, the panel of judges – Xiaolu Guo, Jon Cook, Nick Barley, Hephzibah Anderson and myself – had to contend with an embarrassment of riches. Whatever our perennial regrets about the limited quantity of fiction brought into English from other languages, the quality of translations felt as bold and bright as ever. In Britain, we owe so much of our view of global fiction to independent publishers of various shapes and sizes. Responsible for around two-thirds of all submissions for the Independent prize, they contribute five out of the six titles on this list – although I ought to stress that neither commercial nor geographical provenance ever sways the decision.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her in Latakia
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report