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

Government 'destroying communities' say union leaders

The Government was attacked today for "destroying" communities with its spending cuts and other policies as thousands of trade unionists, pensioners, students and activists took part in the annual May Day celebrations.

Trafalgar Square hosts Easter Passion play

Biblical scenes unfolded in Trafalgar Square today as thousands of people gathered to watch a recreation of Jesus Christ's crucifixion and resurrection.

Sport on TV: Bishop channels his energies to answer millions of prayers

There's a new breed of comedian nowadays. From Eddie Izzard running 43 marathons in 51 days to David Walliams swimming the Channel and the Thames, it's not so much stand-up as "I can barely stand up". Bernard Manning and Roy "Chubby" Brown would have run a mile if Sport Relief came calling – except they wouldn't be able to get that far.

Another 'Olympics egg' stolen

A third model egg has been stolen from a pre-Olympic exhibition.

Afghanistan worked the world maps of Turin-born Alighiero Boetti

Alighiero Boetti, Tate Modern, London

The star of Arte Povera is full of bright ideas in a show that winds its way through the human condition and its orderly creations, from postage stamps to vast embroideries

Hundreds in London join day of action to support Arab Spring protesters

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in London yesterday to show solidarity with protesters in the Middle East and North Africa.

Year of the Dragon roars into the UK

Two weeks of celebrations are set to start tomorrow as communities mark the arrival of Chinese New Year.

Stephen Lawrence: How the case breakthrough came

DCI Clive Driscoll was in church to mark the 15th anniversary of the death of Stephen Lawrence when the breakthrough finally came.

Jacques Rogge , president of the International Olympic Committee, drew attention to the rise of fixing as a threat to the integrity of sport

London Eye: Athletes need to break their silence on curse of doping

There were two significant sporting moments played out in courtrooms in this country this year. One came amid a scrum of international media at Southwark Crown Court on the banks of the Thames in London and resulted in the imprisonment of three Pakistan Test cricketers, the captain Salman Butt, and two of the world's best fast bowlers, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir. It shook cricket, a continent and the sporting world beyond.

It's good to walk: the redesigned Exhibition Road in west London is a 'shared space' for pedestrians and cars

This town is big enough for the both of us

I am standing at the junction of two of the busiest streets in central London – High Holborn and Shaftesbury Avenue. In one direction is Centre Point and the start of Oxford Street; in another Leicester Square; to the south-east is Covent Garden; behind me is Bloomsbury and the giant hulk of the British Museum. It's quite a vista. But my view only lasts for eight seconds before the little green man turns red and a herd of black cabs rev their engines.

It's good to walk: the redesigned Exhibition Road in west London is a 'shared space' for pedestrians and cars

Walk on the wild side: Pedestrians could soon be given equal footing with cars

Traditional planning put cars at the centre of our streets but a radical rethink of how modern cities work could change all that.

Dave Gilmour's son loses sentence appeal

Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour's son lost an appeal today against his 16-month sentence for going on a drink and drug-fuelled rampage at a student fees protest.

Everyone can have a night at Covent Garden

The Royal Opera House has begun embracing social networking to widen its audience, says chief executive Tony Hall

Picture of the Day: Up, up and away for 2012...

Londoners woke up to the sound of music emanating from the skies this morning as seven orchestral hot air balloons soared above the capital, heralding one year to go to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

James Corrigan: Olympic fever? Like many real sports fans I'm immune to the hype and bluster

The Way I See It: To us the Olympics is about athletics, and only about athletics, maybe with a bit of swimming and boxing thrown in

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran