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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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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 12 March 2015
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower