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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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

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Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
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A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

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A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

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Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

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