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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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Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
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New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

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Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
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By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

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Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
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Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
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New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

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Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

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Prices correct as of 31 October 2014
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes