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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.

Dalai Lama hits out at succession 'meddling'

The Dalai Lama said yesterday that China's Communist leadership can play no role in deciding who succeeds him as the leader of Tibetan Buddhism and called Beijing's meddling in the issue "a disgrace".

Album: Joby Talbot, Tide Harmonic (Signum Classics)

The former Divine Comedian's latest project is an engrossing concept album about water, evoked in its various elemental states across a five-part suite bookended with a brief orchestral torrent supplanted by the resonant ringing of Tibetan temple bowls.

Australian PM shuns meeting with Dalai Lama

The Australian Prime Minister, refused to meet the Dalai Lama during his visit to Parliament House yesterday, but insisted the snub had nothing to do with Chinese pressure to shun the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

Blood & Mistletoe, By Ronald Hutton

The reliable Hutton has produced a vast, enthralling history of a mysterious cult. "The Druids may have been the most prominent magico-religious specialists... and that is all we can say with reasonable certainty. They left no account of their beliefs and practices."

Album: Beastie Boys, Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 (Capital)

The eighth studio album from the Beastie Boys comes after a long lay-off made even longer by Adam "MCA" Yauch's treatment for cancer.

Nawang Gombu: Mountain guide who became the first man to climb Everest twice

Nawang Gombu Sherpa was the youngest member of the 1953 expedition which made the first ascent of Mount Everest. He later reached the summit himself and subsequently became the first person to climb Everest twice. His entrée to the comparatively lucrative world of high altitude mountaineering was made possible by his uncle, Tenzing Norgay, who reached the summit in 1953 with Edmund Hillary.

Dalai Lama's successor swaps Harvard for the Himalayas

A Harvard academic will make the switch from America's East coast to the foothills of the Himalayas after being elected prime minister of the Tibetan exile community – a role that will see him take over the political duties previously carried out by the Dalai Lama.

Forensics age Tibet’s "disappeared" Panchen Lama

In recent years, the identity of the Panchen Lama has become a source of dispute and political leverage between China and their separatist opposition.

Tibetan exiles begin voting for new political leader to replace Dalai Lama

Tibetans across the world began voting yesterday for a new leader to take up the resistance against Chinese rule over their homeland, as the Tibetan parliament-in-exile debated how to handle the Dalai Lama's resignation from politics.

China: Monk sets himself on fire in protest

A Tibetan monk who set himself on fire in an anti-government protest – and was then beaten and kicked by police – has died.

Peter Popham: He held his people together – but they must move on

The Dalai Lama has exasperated many young Tibetans in recent years by his refusal to yield on non-violence

China insists on role in anointing religious leaders

The Chinese government insisted they should have a say in the anointing of all senior religious figures in Tibetan Buddhism just days before the Dalai Lama announced his plans to step down.

Dalai Lama steps back to push Tibetans forward

Spiritual leader's speech intended to spark drive for democracy

Tibetan leader cleared by inquiry into funds

Indian authorities have cleared the Karmapa, Tibetan Buddhism's third most important leader, in an investigation into how $1.35m (£840,000) in cash made its way to his headquarters in northern India.

My Life In Travel: Colin Thubron, writer

'I've learnt that Britain is extremely peculiar'
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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

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

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
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
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'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected