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One of the most important relics of indigenous Viking culture will leave Scotland for the first time in its 1,100 year history to go on display at the British Museum this week.

'I was set up as a hate figure': Hilary Mantel defends criticism of Kate Middleton

Award-winning novelist says she has "absolutely nothing to apologise for"

David Cameron visits the Golden Temple in Amritsar

David Cameron makes no apology for Amritsar massacre

PM says killing of 380 people was 'shameful' but does not apologise

Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum – British Museum: Priceless treasures from the cities destroyed by the Mount Vesuvius eruption will aim to satisfy the international fascination with the disaster when screened on 18 June

Pompeii exhibit to be disaster movie of the summer

British Museum show joins growing trend for major exhibitions to be streamed in cinemas

Postcard from... Istanbul

At its peak at the end of the 16th Century, the Ottoman Empire ruled over parts of North Africa, Asia and Europe, even reaching the outskirts of Vienna. Today's Turkey is much smaller but it has not forgotten its imperial past.

Postcard from... Istanbul

At its peak at the end of the 16th Century, the Ottoman Empire ruled over parts of North Africa, Asia and Europe, even reaching the outskirts of Vienna. Today's Turkey is much smaller but it has not forgotten its imperial past.

Comedy duo admitted to hallowed halls of British Museum

The Gentlemen of Leisure are first comedy act allowed to perform a tour at the London-based museum

Submariner jailed for trying to sell secrets to Russia who tried to spy for Russians is jailed

A Royal Navy submariner who betrayed his country and colleagues by trying to pass secrets to men he believed were Russian spies has been jailed for eight years.

Temptresses, decrepit hags and glamorous spell-casters: New Scottish art exhibition to reveal real faces of witchcraft

The dark history of European witchcraft will be explored in an exhibition opening at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art next July.

Actors will play BP ‘executive witches’. The performance will culminate in the BP witches being physically carried out of the museum by the crowd, and banished from any further involvement in British culture.

The great Shakespearean flashmob strikes again

The Reclaim Shakespeare Company plans to stage a protest against BP sponsorship at the British Museum this weekend

Battle-scarred Viking swords go on sale

The death of distinguished Danish collector EA Christensen has prompted a collection of battle-scarred Viking swords to come up for auction.

Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber calls on Government for 'serious investment' in arts education

Andrew Lloyd Webber has become the latest cultural heavyweight to take aim at the Government over its education policy, saying funding arts in schools has produced “enormous returns” for the Treasury.

Weekend work: Time to feed tomatoes

What to do

UK returns stolen artefacts to Afghanistan

The British armed forces have returned historical artefacts dating back as far as the Bronze Age to Afghan museums, after they were stolen and smuggled abroad, it was announced today.

Looted treasures returned to Afghanistan by British Museum

The British Museum, aided by British police and the UK Border Force, has helped return to Afghanistan hundreds of looted antiquities seized from smugglers, The Independent can reveal.

On The Road in Brussels: Never mind the antiques, I'll take the chocolate

Sundays in European cities kill me. I've lost count of the number of times I've trailed aimlessly around a city, found the gallery I desperately wanted to visit is closed and all the restaurants are so busy that I can't get a seat. I then walk for miles, eating a stale sandwich for lunch and spend money in pointless shops just to while away the time.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own