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A liver transplant patient turned up to her operation appointment at a German hospital with a bottle of vodka in her bag, a court has heard.

The Oligarch's Wife, By Anna Blundy

Pavel Ivanchenko's life begins in poverty and violence, selling illegal vodka on the streets of Kirgask to support his family. But by the end of the novel, he has reinvented himself as one of post-Glasnost's most influential plutocrats.

Beverages through a lens

Ever wondered what your favourite tipple would look like under a microscope? No, we hadn’t either. But American scientist Michael Davidson did.

Media Lunch: Richard Hillgrove, founder, Hillgrove PR

The venue: The Thomas Cubitt, in Elizabeth Street, Belgravia. It was recommended to me by a diary editor, who told me that everyone was going there. It's much better than a typical gastro-pub.

Police hunt vodka raiders

Police were today hunting armed thieves who made off with five lorry-loads of vodka in a warehouse raid.

Bloody Mary jelly shots

Makes about 8-10

Heatwave - and vodka - leads to 200 drownings in a single week

A prolonged heatwave across European Russia combined with a prodigious consumption of vodka has led to dozens of drownings every day as drunken swimmers attempt to cool off in lakes and ponds. More than 200 people have drowned in the last week alone.

Business Diary: Blessed are the BT peacemakers

BT was no doubt expecting fisticuffs when launching its cut-price offer of Sky Sports this week – the feud with its rival has, after all, been pretty bitter.

How GCHQ kept tabs on Soviet vodka supplies

The lives of ordinary people under Stalin are revealed as Britain's spying secrets are finally made public

Gin: In a glass of its own

Forget ice and a slice – the new super-premium gins are much too interesting to be drowned in tonic. David Gerrie reports on a new spirit of adventure

Absolute and Absolut settle

Absolute Radio has settled its branding dispute with Swedish vodka Absolut after an 18-month legal battle over allegations that the national music station was infringing the drink's trademark.

Mark Morris Dance Group / English National Opera, Coliseum, London<br/>Earthfall, Cochrane Theatre, London

A joyous, all-singing, all-dancing celebration of life in all its hues

Claire Beale On Advertising: An Absolut break from the norm

Director Spike Jonze has made his first love story. It's a short one, a 30-minute film. And strange. Naturally. Its melancholic and dreamy, loved-up stars are two robots, one a librarian, the other a free-spirited lady android. They're all plastic and wire, like reclaimed computing cast-offs from a decade or two back. Retro, for robots. But they talk like you and me. And they live in LA.

Album: Los Campesinos! Romance Is Boring (Wichita)

Like a drunken Lord's spectator floored by a cover drive six, I didn't see this coming. Cardiff collective Los Campesinos! have previously erred on the side of twee and irritating, but the Bis-like hyperactivity of their early releases is now only half the story.

Russia starts year with war on cheap vodka

Medvedev sanctions law putting minimum price on spirits to fight binge drinking

Russia raises price bar on vodka in effort to reduce alcohol consumption

Russia set a minimum price for vodka today more than doubling the cost of the cheapest drinks in an effort to fight rampant alcoholism.

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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

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
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
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

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

Pinstriped for action

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

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
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

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us