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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.

Haute cuisine: the Piacere restaurant has elevated views

Room Service: Shangri-La Tokyo, Japan

Lost horizon at the top of a tower

Waiter who streaked alongside Olympic Torch relay denies indecency claiming his naked body inspired 'hilarity not distress'

A waiter who streaked alongside the Olympic Torch was merely inspiring “hilarity not distress” when he joined the relay wearing nothing but trainers, his lawyer insisted today.

St John’s Night, Jermyn Street Theatre, London

Jermyn Street Theatre is partial to rummaging for rarities in the back catalogue of great dramatists. Well, they don’t come much rarer than this – the UK premiere, no less, of St John’s Night which  Ibsen wrote at the tender age of 23 and later tried to disown.

Dalai Lama takes Salmond's 'snub' in his stride during visit to Scotland

The Dalai Lama yesterday insisted he was not offended by Alex Salmond's apparent decision to "snub" his visit to Scotland – saying he was only interested in spreading a message of harmony.

'Serve humanity', urges Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama has urged religious people to work for the good of humanity and care for the environment in an address at Westminster Abbey.

Archie Bland: It feels like we are missing some British heroes

With such monumental figures as Aung Sun Suu Kyi and the Dalai Lama in town – along with Nelson Mandela, the boilerplate inspirations of a thousand insipid celebrity Q&As over the years – it'd be easy to leaf through recent British history and wonder, with regret, where our own legends are. The heroes we do have are, with the possible exception of Winston Churchill, hated by as many people as love them. Not even Margaret Thatcher's greatest admirers could call her a unifying force.

Dalai Lama takes to the stage – with Russell Brand

The Dalai Lama was joined by outspoken comedian Russell Brand as he addressed thousands of young people at the Manchester Arena yesterday.

Dalai Lama dismisses Chinese threat over Olympic camp exit

The Dalai Lama today brushed aside a reported threat by China to withdraw their Olympic athletes from a training camp in response to a planned speech as "almost routine".

Dalai Lama begins UK tour

The Dalai Lama will begin a national tour of the UK today which will include an appearance alongside comedian Russell Brand.

China threatens Leeds Olympic base pull-out over Dalai Lama visit

Chinese officials have threatened to pull the country's Olympic athletes out of their training camp in Leeds due to a scheduled visit by the Dalai Lama to the city, it was reported today.

Russell Brand and Dalai Lama to share stage

Comedian Russell Brand is to share a stage with Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Tibetan protester Jamphel Yeshi set himself on fire in New Delhi ahead of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to India earlier this year

China cracks down after Tibetan self-immolations

The 33-year-old who died at the sceneis the 35th Tibetan to immolate since March last year

Tibetan mother dies in fire protest

A Tibetan mother of three has died in the latest in a recent wave of self-immolations to protest against Chinese rule, according to reports.

Pair burn themselves as fiery protest reaches Tibet

One man died and the other was taken to hospital after they set themselves on fire yesterday outside the Jokhang Temple, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

73-year-old Japanese woman scales Mount Everest

A 73-year-old Japanese woman climbed to Mount Everest's peak today, smashing her own record to again become the oldest woman to scale the world's highest mountain.

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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 1 May 2015
General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

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A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
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Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'