Arts and Entertainment The National Portrait Gallery has commissioned a portrait of Tony Blair by Alastair Adams

A painting of the former PM for the National Portrait Gallery tells us much about him

The News Matrix: Monday 8 April 2013

Nine arrested over building collapse

Sssssssshhhhhh he's trying to read: As China prepares for the year of the snake pictures show a zoo owner's remarkable relationship with the creatures

As China prepares to welcome in the year of the snake, pictures have been published showing one zoo owner in the Philippines who has an extraordinarily close relationship with the creatures.

Anti-capitalists including Occupy movement target Parliament

Hundreds of protesters descended on Parliament to air their anti-capitalist beliefs outside the UK's halls of power.

Come on up, the view's lovely: First look from the Shard's public gallery

Visitors taking tours of the Shard will be able to enjoy views of up to 40 miles across London when it opens in February.

Admiralty Arch to become London's next landmark hotel after sale to Spanish investor

With Buckingham Palace and the Mall stretching out below its westerly windows and Trafalgar Square doing the same to the east, London's Admiralty Arch has an unrivalled view into the heart of the nation.

Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, wants to write a prequel

Before Downton? Not so abbey ever after

Julian Fellowes wants to write a Downton prequel. Why not march forward to the septic Seventies? John Walsh offers his plot suggestions

Shelagh Fogarty: A feast of humanity, talent and plain old grit

The last time I was in the same village as thousands of disabled people was on Easter Monday a couple of years ago. It was Lourdes in the South of France and there wasn’t much sport going on but, as I prepare to cover the Paralymic Games from London for BBC Radio Five Live, I suspect the two experiences will have something in common - and I don’t mean miracles.

Prism by Keiichi Matsuda at the V&A during the London Design Festival 2012

Heads Up: London Design Festival

They're putting what in the middle of Trafalgar Square?

Tom Sutcliffe: When there are a few too many stereotypes on the streets of London

I visited New York and found, to my great delight, that the city really did feature large chimneys funnelling steam out of the pavement.

Hubbard's Cupboard: At least this time they are not shooting live pigeons...

The man with incredible tales...

The five circles of transport hell?

i writers battle London's Olympic restrictions – and each other – to cross the capital

The Big Dance bus stops in Islington, north London

Big Dance, Multiple venues, nationwide

Singin', and dancin', in the rain ... just Gene Kelly and me

'Peep show' at National Gallery inspired by Titian

A classically-inspired peep show has been set up in the middle of the National Gallery.

Cutbacks see scaled down London Gay Pride

A funding shortage has resulted in a scaled down version of London's Gay Pride event taking place today.

Boris Johnson 'broadly positive' over London Grand Prix plan

London Mayor Boris Johnson gave qualified support today to bold plans by Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone for a London Grand Prix.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea