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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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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn