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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Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent