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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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
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz