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A fire that raged for nearly 10 hours today razed an ancient Tibetan town in southwest China that's popular with tourists, burning down hundreds of buildings as fire engines were unable to get onto the narrow streets, state media and witnesses said.

Rebecca Tyrrel: 'Uma Thurman got off lightly. Her brothers are called Ganden, Dechen and Mipam'

Who knew that Uma Thurman's father was the first Westerner ever to become a Buddhist monk? He popularised the faith in the US long before Richard Gere leapt aboard the saffron bandwagon.

Tibetan writer and activist Tsering Woeser waves from the balcony of her home in Beijing

Tibetan poet blocked from receiving award

Beijing has prevented a Tibetan poet, Tsering Woeser, from travelling to the US to pick up an international women’s award by refusing to issue her a passport.

The Dalai Lama is the honorary president of fans' group Friends of Bradford City

Is the Dalai Lama behind Bradford's incredible Capital One Cup run?

Dalai Lama sends letter of support ahead of Wembley final against Swansea

Dalai Lama rumoured to be attending England's final ODI in India

Given his patience and mastery of inner peace, the Dalai Lama has some of the attributes required to be an excellent test cricketer. 

Teenager burns herself to death in Tibet protest

A teenage girl set herself on fire on the grasslands of an ethnic Tibetan region in western China, becoming the eighth child to self-immolate to protest against Chinese rule over the region, rights groups said.

Monk 'linked' to immolations by eight Tibetans

Chinese police have detained a monk and his nephew in Sichuan province and accused them of instigating the self-immolations of eight ethnic Tibetans on the instructions of the Dalai Lama and his followers.

Pope's secret files has been found revealing Vatican scandals

Poll: Is it beneath Pope Benedict XVI to engage with the masses on Twitter?

So His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has signed up for Twitter. Having settled on the snappy handle of @pontifex, the Vatican advised followers to note that tweets shouldn't be regarded as "infallible teachings". But they won't be Instagrammed LOLcats either - the Pope will use the account for live responses to questions about faith during his weekly general audience, starting December 12th.

Elton John dedicates Beijing gig to Ai Weiwei

The singer and dissident artist had met briefly prior to last night's concert

Woman sets herself on fire in Tibetan protest

A Tibetan taxi driver set herself on fire and died in the latest protests against Chinese rule over her homeland, overseas rights groups confirmed yesterday.

Exiled Tibetans protest in Dharamsala, India, on Thursday

Tibet crackdown fear as China protests escalate

Rights groups accused China of tightening security in restive Tibetan areas after a wave of self-immolation protests cast a shadow over the Communist Party congress in Beijing. Despite growing international calls for an independent inquiry, China said it would refuse to allow foreign observers into Tibet to investigate human rights abuses.

Free Tibet: teenage monks and woman in self-immolation protest for congress

Three teenage Tibetan monks and a woman set fire to themselves to protest Chinese rule on the eve of a pivotal Communist Party congress, activists said today.

The Iconic Photographs, By Steve McCurry

Photography

£5,000 rewards offered for self-immolation tip-offs

Police in a heavily Tibetan region of west China are offering to reward people who tip them off about planned self-immolations.

An audience of students at Brown University in Rhode Island, when at the end of a speech on world peace, he appeared to utter some distinctly unholy language.

Pardon your Holiness? Dalai Lama ends speech on World Peace by saying 'F**k it' (according to the stenographer that is...)

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, who is considered by his followers to be the very manifestation of the bodhisattva of compassion, isn't known for swearing like an angry docker.

Dharamsala: The new film festival in the Dalai Lama's backyard

A new film festival will showcase the best of recent Indian and world cinema in November.

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game